Souvenirs up for grabs |

Souvenirs up for grabs

Contractor hopes sentimentalists will carry off Soda Creek brick by brick

Mike McCollum

— It may be impossible to put a price on the memories students, staff and local families have of Soda Creek Elementary School, and the bricks that housed those memories now are free of charge.

Officials from the company contracted to excavate the Soda Creek site, which is in the process of being demolished to make way for a new school, said anyone who wants to keep some of the school’s bricks as mementos can take as many as they want.

“People are asking for souvenirs because they are very obviously attached to the school,” said Cynthia Richmond of Johnson Excavation. “It’s funny, people were so glad to see that a new school will be built, but now they are looking to hold on to something from the past.”

The bricks can be picked up from a large pile outside the school’s construction gate on Eighth Street, and Richmond said there is no limit to the number of bricks the community can take.

“There will be eight to 10 trucks coming in and out of that gate from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.,” she said. “So no one holds up traffic, we hope people who pick up bricks come either before or after that.”

A new Soda Creek school will begin to rise from the ground later this summer, but a mound of rubble now stands in the footprint of the school that officials hope will be ready for the 2008-09 school year.

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Richmond noted that the site excavation should be completed by the end of July.

More than 31,000 square feet of school materials were moved from the building before demolition. A June garage sale further reduced the 51-year-old building to a shell of its former self as furniture, fixtures and equipment were sold.

Todd Ficken, the school district’s owner’s representative for the major school construction project, said after the sale nothing was left but bricks, steel and concrete.

“The place was stripped of light fixtures and even door knobs,” said Ficken, who noted demolition and construction plans are on schedule. “The steel will be recycled, and the contractor is doing a great job of separating the copper as well. We are minimizing as much of the disposal as possible.”

Part of Johnson Excavation’s bid contract is that the company has salvage rights to sell marketable materials at the disposal site, such as copper.

Richmond said the last material to salvage was the actual building itself.

“We kinda feel bad tearing it down,” she said. “But at least we know some of those bricks will be in a garden or a bookshelf for a long time.”

The district is constructing a temporary school facility, made up of 15 mobile classrooms, in the field adjacent to the George P. Sauer Human Services Center at Seventh and Pine streets.