End of school era: Sections of Casco Memorial salvaged

NW dd11 MEMORIAL SCHOOL brick wall one

A brick wall remains standing around the debris that was once the Casco Memorial School on Tuesday evening. (De Busk Photo)

 

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

CASCO — During the last few hours of daylight on Tuesday, a Casco resident was pulling concrete blocks from a pile of debris that was once the Memorial School.

Looking up from his labor, the man recalled going to school in the building when he was in third, fourth, and fifth grade.

He planned to use the cement bricks to design an herb and flower garden for his mother. If there were any cinder blocks left over from that project, he intended to build a fire pit in his own yard.

“They were just going to bury the bricks, so I stopped by the town office and asked if I could have them,” he said.

The man said he knew that the Casco Memorial School was scheduled for demolition, but the haste with which it happened took him by surprise.

“One day, it was there; the next day I drove by, and it was gone,” he said.

According to Casco Town Manager Dave Morton, the demolition began on Monday.

Likely, Wednesday’s snowstorm will expedite the demolition work that is happening off Route 11, he said.

The contractor “might be wound up today because of the storm. He may be scrambling to get as much debris out of there before it gets covered with snow,” Morton said during a phone interview on Wednesday.

On Feb. 5, the Casco Board of Selectmen awarded the bid for the demolition job to Naples-based Borsetti Construction.

The board had voted, 3–2, to demolish the entire building including the concrete slab on which the structure sat. Also included in that vote was the decision to revitalize the recreational space.

The board members who voted in opposition simply favored saving the concrete slab for the town’s future needs.

The cost of the demolition job is $30,000. The payment will be made once the demolition project is wrapped up. The job includes hauling off debris, backfilling the hole, and planting grass in the bare space.

According to Morton, there is no set timeline for completion of the job.

“We didn’t hold him to a timeline,” he said.

Although portions of the aged building were not suitable for the town’s needs, some of the materials will be recycled throughout the region, Morton said.

“There was a lot of material that was salvaged out of the building,” he said.

“Some of the windows that were taken out will be used for an athletic project that is going on,” he said.

Larry Carter, the president of the Sebago-Long Lake Cal Ripken Baseball League, will find a use for the Memorial School’s windows that once supported the daydreams of students distracted from their studies. Those windows will be used for the league’s concession stands.

So, those windows are being repurposed, Morton said.

Also, a “local scrapper” was able to remove the metals. Prior to the demolition started, that businessman removed the mercury light bulbs and thermostats from the building.

As the demolition continues, the construction debris will be headed to a landfill in the Bangor or Old Town area, Morton said. Other miscellaneous materials fell into the hands of local recyclers.

In the future the town-owned property will become sports fields. But that timeframe is not set in concrete, Morton said.

“There is no immediate funding to develop the fields,” he said.

“I imagine it will take some time. The Casco Parks and Recreation Committee will meet over time. The committee will take its time to develop the best plans going forward,” he said.

This winter during a March snowstorm, Gunnar Borsetti operates an excavator, swinging the hydraulic arm over a jumble of concrete and splinters of wood.

This spring, children in the local sports league will be swinging baseball bats on the property — as they’ve done for years.

“By the time baseballs starts, the area should be cleaned up, the hole filled in, and the ground will be seeded before late April,” Morton said.

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