GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – In January, the Palisade City Council approved a contract to demolish the old high school. That demolition began Tuesday morning to make way for the design of the new medical clinic that is opening at Palisade.
On Tuesday morning, contractors proceeded with the first stage of demolition in conjunction with the three wings of the building.
“It’s an exciting project because this school has been vacant for 25 years,” said Janet Hawkinson, Principal of Palisade Town.
She says the city has been thinking about what to do with this building for more than a decade and she’s thrilled it’s being used for such a great cause.
“It was a really cool experience to have a lot of dignitaries from the City of Palisade and the Community Hospital to be here as we took down the initial first part of the building,” said Mike Munch of DC Contracting. “This was the first initial demolition of the three wings we are bringing down. There was a lot of excitement there because of what we know is coming.
He says the demolition should be completed in four to five weeks. Then the reconstruction of the gymnasium will take another few weeks. The demolition and reconstruction of the old gymnasium should be completed by mid-May.
“I know there’s a lot of feelings about people who went to high school here and they’re sad to see the building disappear,” Munch said. “But then when I tell them what the future plans are for the site and a medical clinic here, it changes their attitudes and they are happy to see that we are bringing something like this to the community. So people don’t have to drive so far to get the medical help they need.
He goes on to say that there are many people who are sad about the closure of the old high school. But he says the building has been a dangerous area. For children who enter, they can easily get hurt.
“We try to do our best when we knock this down so if anyone wants to save a brick from old high school they have a chance to grab it or a piece of wood as a souvenir from high school they graduated” , Munch said.
The construction team tries to keep the materials they can and reuse them. Mike says the precast pillars have been removed from two locations in the high school and will be reused at the entrance to the new gymnasium.
“Collect bricks from the residence if they want to come get bricks, we’ll have a pile for them,” Hawkinson said. “There are wooden beams that they salvage, taking things to different recycling centers, so we’re really trying to recycle the whole building.”
Once demolition is complete, design of the clinic will begin and construction will begin in July or August. The City of Palisade and Community Hospital selected “MOA Architects” in January for the design.
In early 2023, the Community Hospital Medical Clinic and Urgent Care Center are scheduled to open, making medical care more accessible to Palisade residents.
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