By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — —
Bids for the demolition of the former Horace Mann Grade School are expected to be sought.
The school was deeded to the city for $1, by District 80 Schools in 2002, after the consolidation into the Primary Center, J.L. Buford Intermediate Center and Casey Middle School. For a short time, the facility was used as a community center, was a meeting place for the Young Marines and has been used as a storage facility for the city.
Concerns with black mold forced the city to close the facility in 2009. Last year, an environmental report indicated not only black mold in the building, but friable asbestos as well.
Friable asbestos, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, is asbestos that is more easily released into the air and required specific abatement during demolition.
Funds for the demolition have been earmarked from the $36 million bond issue that was approved by the city council in September 2012. Last month, a surplus auction of city items was held in Woodlawn, with many of the items coming from the Horace Mann building, which has been emptied of items which were stored there.
According to City Manager Ron Neibert, District 80 has also been contacted to find out if there are any items the district would like salvaged from the property as historical mementos prior to demolition.
City plans call for the asbestos abatement, salvaging and demolition to happen, then the area will be returned to a green space.
If the council approves going out for bids during its meeting tonight, demolition could be expected sometime in March.
The council will also be hearing bid results for the Ninth Street streetscape program.
The council will meet tonight at 7 p.m. at the Rolland W. Lewis Community Building at Veterans Park.