Auburn signs contract to demolish Great Falls School

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AUBURN — Preparations to tear down the western wing of the old Great Falls School on Academy Street could begin Monday, according to city officials.

Economic Development Director Roland Miller said the city Friday signed a contract with St. Laurent and Sons of Lewiston to demolish the older half of the building.

The eastern wing will be refurbished as the new, permanent home of Community Little Theatre.

The company was the low bidder on the demolition project, bidding $316,200 to do the environmental cleanup on the site, demolish the building and cart the remains away.

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“There are many different parts of this project, so it is rather complex,” Miller said. “The first thing that has to occur is to get the whole electrical control operation shipped over to the part of the building that will be retained. And there is asbestos in there, lead-based paint — and all of that has to be cleaned up. There will probably be about three weeks worth of work inside, preparing it for demolition.”

Miller said the final bid was $4,000 more than city had budgeted for the demolition. According to Friday’s agreement, the city will pay for the bulk of the demolition — roughly $312,000. Community Little Theatre has agreed to pick up the $4,000 difference.

The city signed a 99-year lease with the Community Little Theatre group in January, giving them control of the east end of the building.

That section is home to the theater and its costume storage space, the gym, and some artists, exercise spaces and vacant offices.

The western section was home to a wide array of tenants, including two dance schools, an exercise instructor, a pottery studio, the Maine Franco American Genealogical Library and the Share Center.

All of those groups have found new homes.

Miller said some local residents are asking to access the building and salvage some of the demolition materials. That decision is now up to St. Laurent.

staylor@sunjournal.com

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