Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

July 11, 2013

Firm recommends demolishing oldest section

TEUTOPOLIS — The oldest section of Teutopolis High School is 84 years old and still being used for classroom space. But a representative of a St. Louis contracting firm said Wednesday the Unit 50 school district might want to consider tearing down the old building as part of a long-range plan to shore up Unit 50 facilities.

Demolition of the old building was one of several recommendations offered to the Unit 50 Facility Study Committee Wednesday. John Loraine of Control Technology Solutions said the high school uses more energy per square foot than either Teutopolis Junior High or Grade School.

Loraine, who toured the school in May, said the old school needs a number of repairs to make it compatible with modern technology. But he said the presence of asbestos — commonly used in early to mid-20th century buildings — could make repair costs prohibitive in some respects.

"It will be a big issue," Loraine said.

There are some things the school district can do to make the high school more comfortable, according to the report. Loraine said the school district should, for example, think about replacing the existing climate control system in the cafeteria; add cooling in areas not presently cooled; install additional electric outlets in classrooms to accommodate modern technology demands; and replace all of the old single-pane windows with double-pane windows that would enable the district to cut energy costs.

The CTS report also suggests that secure entrances be installed at both the high school and junior high to enhance student and staff safety.

Superintendent Bill Fritcher said the school district has been phasing out use of the old building as enrollment continues to decline. Nevertheless, Fritcher said, several classrooms are still located in the old building.

The 1929 building has been added onto six times since its initial construction.

Committee member Paul Rhodes questioned whether any significant renovations should be done in the old part of the high school, if demolition is the best option.

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