Demolition begins on historic Central School Building in Baker City

By on Wednesday, July 10th, 2024 in More Top Stories Northeastern Oregon News

BAKER CITY — The Baker School District has commenced the demolition of the historic Central School Building, a landmark gutted by fire in May. Demolition efforts, led by Alpine Abatement, are set to be completed by August 16.

The school district announced the demolition after extensive consultations with local and state agencies. The 108-year-old building had been vacant since 2009 and was deemed unsafe after the fire caused its roof to collapse and severely damaged its interior. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Oregon State Police.

Alpine Abatement, a contractor based in Redmond, Oregon, is overseeing the demolition and abatement process. 

Residents who live nearby the school have expressed concerns about the potential asbestos dust, especially as demolition began. The school district says those concerns have been addressed. 

“Alpine Abatement is highly experienced, and work is being done in compliance with OSHA, DEQ, and EPA regulations,” says Lindsey Bennington-McDowell, spokesperson for the district.  “Alpine Abatement specializes in both demolition and abatement and has strict safety precautions in place to make sure that their own workers and the surrounding community remain safe and healthy. “

The district says BTI President Doug Dalton also recently met with residents to provide information and will offer further updates at the school board meeting on July 16.

The fate of the building’s stones remains uncertain. They will be cleaned on-site, and the school board will discuss potential uses at their upcoming meeting.