Residents of Peru attend a special town meeting Thursday to decide whether to take $85,000 from surplus to help pay for demolition of the former Peru Elementary School. The vote was 64-18 to approve the request. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times

PERU — Asbestos removal at the former Peru Elementary School on Main Street began Monday, the next step toward razing the building that opened in 1937.

“Some of the work is going to be done concurrently with the demolition company,” Raquel Welch, chairperson of the Board of Selectpersons, said Saturday. “We are hopeful the project will be completed by late October, mid-November at the latest.”

Almighty Waste of Auburn was recently awarded a contract for $108,300 to demolish the schoolhouse.

Welch said the only debris being buried at the site is concrete from the foundation and walls, which will be ground into pebble-size pieces.

“If we had wanted to haul off the bricks, it would have cost the taxpayers an additional $22,000,” Welch said.

The former Peru Elementary School, which was built in 1937, will be demolished this fall. Voters decided Thursday to take $85,000 from surplus to help pay for the work.surplus for the demolition. Sun Journal file photo

On May 21, taxpayers voted to take $75,000 from surplus to cover preliminary and demolition expenses. Of that, $10,572 has been spent and $38,950 is earmarked for asbestos removal, leaving $25,478.

On Thursday, residents voted 64-18 to take $85,000 more from surplus to provide a total of $110,478 for razing the wood-framed structure.

Welch said she hopes this is the last time selectpersons will have to go to voters to ask for money for the project.

“As far as we know, there are no other costs that should be associated with this,” she said.

The one-story schoolhouse at 30 Main St. closed when Dirigo Elementary School opened in August 2008 to accommodate elementary students from the Regional School Unit 56 towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield and Peru.

Since its closing, the old school has been used as a community center by Friends of Peru Elementary School.

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