ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

McCook Central begins demolition of 1924 building

SALEM--Plenty of change has come to the McCook Central School District in 2016. On Jan. 18, faculty and students moved into a new addition that was built over the summer and the fall. Two weeks later, construction crews started demolition on anot...

A worker with Matthaei Excavating moves rubble on Friday morning as part of the McCook Central school district's 1924 building demolition that began Monday. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)
A worker with Matthaei Excavating moves rubble on Friday morning as part of the McCook Central school district's 1924 building demolition that began Monday. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)

SALEM-Plenty of change has come to the McCook Central School District in 2016.

On Jan. 18, faculty and students moved into a new addition that was built over the summer and the fall. Two weeks later, construction crews started demolition on another section of the school's building.

On Monday, crews began a process of slowly taking down the "1924" building," aptly named for the year it was built, a landmark of the district's educational history.

Demolition will take place over several weeks to ensure the safety of students and an uninterrupted day-to-day school schedule.

"The kids are so excited," High School Principal Brad Seamer said Friday. "You see kids looking out the windows, watching them tear stuff down and can just see on their faces how excited they are. Obviously, they wanted to see an implosion, but you can't do that."

ADVERTISEMENT

In place of the 1924 building will be a two-story, 36,386 square-foot addition housing a stage, performing arts center, bathrooms, administrative offices, high school classrooms, commons areas and middle school classrooms.

Seamer said the ongoing project, headed by Peska Construction, of Sioux Falls, with Matthaei Excavating contracted for demolition, will provide enhanced security throughout the building. All of the doors leading to the outside will be locked, and there will be one, clear entrance to the office for visitors to check in.

During the demolition and building process, the school's 336 students grades K-12 are being shuffled to and from temporary classrooms scattered through the rest of the school. Some rooms are split into sections, separated by temporary wooden walls to house several classes at once, and some classes are held in the gym area.

It's a small price to pay, Seamer said.

"It's nice we didn't have to bring in an extra building and can keep everybody in-house," he said. "It's a little noisy down in the gym area, but we're getting by."

Students' resiliency in an unorthodox learning environment has impressed McCook Central staff, and what was once a strange schedule is now routine.

"That's been the most impressive part about this whole thing-how flexible the students have been. We have construction guys around them 24/7 and they don't bat an eye," Seamer said.

Some staff have had to relocate, too.

ADVERTISEMENT

In the spring, the school purchased a house south of the school on North Dakota Street, where four offices are now located, including that of Superintendent Dan Swartos. In mid-January, the main doors of the school were also shifted from the south side to the north side of the beginning.

Seamer said he expects the project will be finished in approximately one year.

"We'll just have a better facility for our kids," he said.

Voters in the school district approved the project in June, after school officials identified a need for either remodel or reconstruction.

The wood roof structure was weakening and the clay tile walls were crumbling in the school building's 90th year.

Bonds will cover about 40 percent ($2.85 million) of the $7.1 million project. Existing capital outlay funds will be used for the remaining $4.25 million.

Seamer said the school board decided on a new building because a renovation of the former building would cost approximately $5.5 million, $2 million fewer than a new building.

The new building was a no-brainer, he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"The day that we moved out, I kind of did a walk around. It was a little sad, thinking how I was the last principal who's ever going to work in this building," Seamer, who's worked at McCook Central for 10 years, said. "It's neat, but I'm ready for the new one. Oh, God, am I ready for a new one."

The McCook Central school district's 1924 building demolition project began Monday. The building is pictured on Friday. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)
The McCook Central school district's 1924 building demolition project began Monday. The building is pictured on Friday. (Caitlynn Peetz/Republic)

Related Topics: SALEM
What To Read Next
Members Only
Although Mitchell's rates would be increase, the proposed equitable rate structure could lessen the increased costs for residential customers' water and sewer bills.
“We see that when things happen in the coastal areas, a few years later, they start trending toward the Midwest,” said Rep. Ben Krohmer, serving his first term in the House.
“This is sensationalism at its finest, and it does not deserve to be heard in our state capitol,” Rep. Erin Healy, a Democrat and one of 10 votes against the bill in the 70-person chamber, said.
Members Only
Prior to be sentenced to prison, a Mitchell man blamed the winter weather and slick roads for his DUI charge and said he wouldn't have been pulled over had it not been for the "crazy weather."