COOS BAY — The gymnasium was the first to get knocked down as demolition began at the Harding Learning Center this week.
Students and staff witnessed the demolition up the hill near Pirate Hall, watching as the gym was torn apart and “going well” until a piece of the north wall fell in the opposite direction and crashed into the chain link fence near the baseball field, according to Coos Bay School District Superintendent Bryan Trendell.
The oldest building in the Coos Bay School District is being demolished this week. The almost 100-year-old Harding Learning Center is being torn down as part of the $59.9 million Coos Bay BEST Bond.
“A couple of fence panels need to be replaced,” he said of the damage. “But there were no kids, no staff, no one in the area and no one will be in that area since the property is fenced off. Our baseball program that uses the field is working with the contractor to make sure they aren’t there at the same time.”
Trendell added that the damaged chain link fence will be paid for by either the Staton Companies that is completing the demolition or Chambers Construction, the district’s general contractor for the project.
“I don’t know how they will take care of it, but they will,” Trendell said. “It won’t cost the district or taxpayers in any way … It’s just a couple panels of chain link. It isn’t a big deal.”
The demolition will continue through the rest of the week. Once finished, construction on the new Marshfield Junior High will begin, the district’s second big construction project in the $59.9 million BEST Bond.
As for watching the 100-year-old Harding Learning Center get torn down, Trendell said it was bittersweet.
“The kids were excited standing on the hill by Pirate Hall and there’s excitement in the air watching it happen, but I spent a lot of time in that building so it’s bittersweet,” he said. “But knowing what the finished product is going to be is exciting.”
The district has set up a livestream of the demolition. To watch it, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yozvmKcO7I8&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR0iJ1SGVuOgfX4mTI5teIzgE6heRh3E1H445kv5eKqkt2PaNYeMfV1UDtk.