Demolition on a Pair of Chillicothe City Schools Begins in October


CHILLICOTHE - Demolition work on a pair of Chillicothe City Schools buildings will begin next month, while construction on two new grade-banded elementary campuses should start when the weather breaks in the spring.

Late Tuesday afternoon, about two dozen people visited the former Western Elementary School building off Cherry Street to learn more about what Summit Construction/Resource International has planned for demolition work there and at the former Hopewell Elementary School bulding on Cutright Drive.

Andy Rogers, with Summit, said residents can expect to see temporary fencing going up around the two sites the week of Oct. 10, with asbestos abatement and eventual demolition of the structures starting the week of Oct. 17.

The asbestos work, which will be conducted simultaneously at the two sites, is expected to take about six weeks. Demolition should be completed around mid-February.

The main purpose of Tuesday's meeting was to let residents know that Summit wants to keep them aware of developments throughout the work and be responsive to any concerns of residents, particularly since the demolition projects and the new school construction projects will take place close to or within neighborhoods.

"We understand this is very impactful, building on a high residential site," Rogers said. "We want to make sure first and foremost that you have all of our contact information. ... If there's any issues, we want to know about them."

Rogers distributed an information sheet to people in attendance that included phone numbers and email addresses for the three main points of contact, saying people with questions or concerns during the work should feel free to reach out and ask for answers.

Rogers also addressed regular work hours, dust control and the routes vehicles hauling debris would be taking away from the two sites. The standard working hours during the demolition process will be 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, although on occasion, there may be a need to work just a little later. If work has to be done on a Saturday, that information will be conveyed to the public, he said.

Crews also will be ordered to keep the buildings watered down to keep the spread of dust to a minimum, and trucks hauling debris from the sites will be limited to specific routes: Mill Street to High Street only for the Western site and Cutright Drive to U.S. 50 only for the Hopewell site.

The sites will be secured with 6-foot high chain-link fence that will have one or two access gates that will be locked every night at the end of the work day. Once construction on the new buildings reaches a point where the interior is covered, what is known as a "tattletale system" will be installed for additional security.

"Every site that we're on, (security) is the first order of business," Rogers said.

Chillicothe City Schools Superintendent Jon Saxton said that as demolition and then construction work get going, a construction update section will be added to the district's website, City Safety Service Director Jeff Carman said the city, school district and Summit have worked well together, and he does not anticipate any significant problems.

The Western location will be the site of the new kindergarten through second-grade building. One decadeslong resident of Cherry Street expressed concerns about traffic on Cherry Street once the building is opened if that street is intended as a primary entrance for students. Saxton said the district is working with the city and the state — which is funding 55 percent of the schools project and has about $300,000 set aside at each new building site for such things as road modifications and site safety — to look at what could be done to make improvements that would lessen residents' concerns about the passage of traffic on the street.

The Hopewell demolition is not connected to the new elementary construction, since the other new elementary campus will be constructed at the site of the former Smith Middle School. It has, however, been closed to students for more than a decade.

Its removal will improve conditions at what is now Mount Logan Elementary School, which becomes the Mount Logan Educational Center once the elementary schools are consolidated into the new campuses. The Mount Logan building already houses both a Pioneer Center and Head Start program and is about to open a new branch of the Chillicothe and Ross County Public Library inside the school library. Those programs will continue, and others are being looked at once the transition to the new buildings is complete.

Rogers said there should be little lag time between the end of demolition in February and the beginning of construction on the new elementary campuses, which he expects as soon as the weather breaks in the spring to allow site work to begin. Saxton said it is still the district's plan to move into the new buildings in September of 2018.