Local News for Friday 10/31/03

Hendy school demolition begins

- Work expected to take two to three weeks.


WEST ELMIRA -- Peter Haskell snapped pictures of his alma mater, Hendy Avenue Elementary School, as construction workers began demolition Thursday afternoon.

Demolition work begins Thursday afternoon at Hendy Avenue Elementary School in West Elmira. The work is expected to take several weeks.
"I'm sad to see the old building go, but I'm happy to know they'll put up a nice, new structure for the next generation," said the West Elmira resident, a 1953 Hendy graduate.

When the school reopens, scheduled in 2005, Hendy will have larger

classrooms, a new cafeteria-auditorium and library, and an upgraded computer lab, said Principal Harriett Sweet.

"There's a certain element of sadness, but I think along with that is a level of excitement of what comes next," Sweet said.

The two-story section of the building built in the 1950s is being torn down and rebuilt, but the gymnasium, also built in the 1950s, and the three-story section built in the 1920s are being saved and renovated.

The demolition is part of the Elmira school district's $88 million capital improvement project. Hendy students are attending Booth School in Elmira during renovations.

Russell Robinson of Welliver McGuire, construction manager of the project, said demolition would take two to three weeks.

"We'll just get this done, and then we'll be ready to put in the foundation," he said.

Construction costs for the project, including furniture, fixtures and equipment, as well as architects' and attorneys' fees, is about $11.5 million.

Special care has been taken not to disturb neighbors in the area, construction officials said.

On Thursday, workers used hoses to keep down dust and debris.

Trucks will remove debris via Durland Avenue or West Water Street to avoid slowing traffic.

Demolition was delayed about three weeks while workers finished removing asbestos, construction officials said.

Copyright 2003 Star-Gazette.