A giant steel "hand" grabbed the roof of the gym of Troutdale Elementary School Thursday, gave it a powerful tug, and the wall started tumbling down. The next big swipe revealed the black curtains of the gym stage dangling in the breeze, another big pull and the curtains came down into the pile of rubble.
The Troutdale Elementary gym is being demolished to make way for the new Troutdale Elementary School being built next to the old school. Students will go to class in the old school building during the upcoming 2017-18 school year — minus the gym — as the new school is being built. Students will start at the new school in fall 2018 and the remainder of the old building will be demolished.
The price tag for the new school, which will accommodate 425 students, is about $32 million.
Workers from a big white tanker truck trained a spray of water on the giant, mechanical pincher and the debris to keep dust from floating into the nearby neighborhood. Staff from Bremik Construction, the contractor for Troutdale Elementary, operated the big excavator and pulled some materials out of the rubble.
Jeremy Symolon, the Bremik superintendent on the project, said it would take about five working days from the Thursday, July 6, start of the gym demolition to get the entire thing razed.
All this is being paid for with a recent school bond. Voters approved a $125 million facilities bond for the Reynolds School District in May 2015. As a result, Reynolds is building three new elementary schools — Troutdale, Fairview and Wilkes — and doing a major upgrade and expansion of Reynolds High School. All Reynolds schools are getting security upgrades to make the schools safer for students, staff and visitors. BLRB Architects designed the new Troutdale Elementary.
The original part of Troutdale Elementary was dedicated on Dec. 1, 1926, according to an account in "It Could Have Been Carpdale," Outlook columnist Sharon Nesbit's book on Troutdale's history.
In 1926 only three rooms of four school rooms were being used and 72 students were enrolled. The school cost $29,000 to build. The new school included many modern innovations. For example, the blackboards could be lifted to reveal the coat closet for students' jackets.
The school has been expanded over the years and in 1949 it was doubled in size, Nesbit's book said. The gym, which was added to the school in 1955, cost $125,000 to construct.