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Asbestos removal first, then demolition to begin at high school

Photo by Dana Pavek/WDC Schools Kraus-Anderson workers recover items from Wadena-Deer Creek High School on Wednesday before demolition begins.

Over the next several weeks, the public will notice a flurry of activity at Wadena-Deer Creek High School, which was destroyed by the June 17 tornado.

Workers from Kraus-Anderson, the construction site manager, are scouring classrooms this week in an effort to retrieve items before demolition begins. Workers are also removing fluorescent bulbs, PCB ballasts in light fixtures, thermostats, refrigerants from cooling systems and petroleum-based products in the boiler room. Many of these items will be reused or recycled.

Areas of asbestos have been located throughout the school with the asbestos abatement to begin Oct. 18. Of the eight companies who bid on the demolition project, Rachel Contracting of St. Michael, Minn., was awarded the general demolition contract. They are in the process of acquiring the necessary permits and licenses required by the state.

Wadena-Deer Creek School District Business Manager Jerry Anderson said the public won't see any visible demolition of the high school until early November.

"From what Kraus-Anderson is telling us, there's much to be done yet internally," said Anderson, referring to the removal of items, asbestos and other hazardous materials. "It looks right now like the first week of November before the public will see the walls of the building start to come down."

Security personnel are currently on duty monitoring the site, which is potentially dangerous due to the instability of the structure. Anderson said the school continues to be mindful of the public's safety.

Meanwhile, the high school's architect, Perkins+Will, held a second meeting with WDC staff for additional input on the design of the new high school.