The pounding of sledgehammers and the clatter of falling brick filled the air — and sometimes shook the neighboring Times-Gazette — Thursday on Gov. Trimble Place in Hillsboro as crews prepared the Armintrout building for full demolition next week.
Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie said the building will be completely brought down on Tuesday, July 19, after workers have removed joists and other supports from the structure.
“We’re just trying to get it down to a shell,” he said.
McKenzie said without the supports, the building will fall in on itself when crews pull it down with heavy equipment — but, he said, when it comes to demolishing old buildings, one can never be too careful.
“In a demo, you hope for the best, but things don’t always go as planned,” he said.
So, for safety reasons, The Times-Gazette offices adjacent to the Armintrout building will be closed until 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Demolition will not interfere with the newspaper’s 200th anniversary open house on Monday, a celebration which will begin at 10 a.m. and run for the rest of the day. Work on the Armintrout building will be suspended Monday.
McKenzie told The Times-Gazette on Thursday that in addition to tearing down the top floor of the Armintrout building brick by brick, workers were removing light fixtures, sinks and other items in the building that can’t be buried with the rubble from the structure.
McKenzie said much of the rubble from the building will likely be buried in the basement of the lot, then covered with gravel and eventually paved into a parking lot for tenants by Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings, who owns the property.
Materials like wood and drywall, which decompose, will have to be hauled away, because as they decompose underground, sinkholes and depressions can develop, McKenzie said.
Workers will spend most of their time next week sifting the rubble, according to McKenzie.
McKenzie said to comply with environmental regulations, a consulting company went through the building recently and removed asbestos insulation, but “it wasn’t a whole lot.”
Work halted temporarily Wednesday morning when smoke generated by a saw filled the top floor of the building, bringing firefighters to the scene. No fire was discovered.
The building is being demolished under the city’s demolition assistance program, with the city footing the bill and Hastings repaying the cost via property tax assessments over five years.
Demolition work is expected to be completed Friday, June 22. After that, work on the new green space landscape being added to Trimble will resume.
Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.