Tunnels shake up school demolition plans

Tunnels discovered under an intermediate school in Quincy, Illinois, caused demolition contractors to change their original plans.

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May 4, 2017
CDR Staff
Demolition Mixed C&D
Tunnels underneath an intermediate school in Quincy, Illinois, caused demolition contractors to reevaluate their demolition plans, a report by the Herald-Whig says.

Demolition of the Baldwin Intermediate School—save for the auditorium, cafeteria, kitchen and gym—is scheduled over the next two summers to make way for a new Kindergarten to fifth grade building, the report says, and the tunnels will now be incorporated into demolition plans.

The tunnels were constructed to house electric substations, old natural gas pipes and sensors to check for the presence of water from a broken pipe, the report says.

Originally, contractors Architechnics Inc., Quincy, wanted to use the tunnels as a storm shelter for the children, but building a ramp system to get 600 children into the tunnels quickly and safely became cost prohibitive.

Now, the plan is to fill in and level tunnels for the parts of the building that are being demolished. According to the report, steel and copper piping will be salvaged for resale and the electrical components will be removed. The walls, which sit on drilled piers, will then be cut down and dropped to the rock base to create a flat bottom. The rest of the walls will be saw-cut by contractors, who will then pull the concrete and backfill the space with a mixture of sand and rock.

The portions of the tunnel system that will not be filled will be permanently sealed or temporarily capped until demolition is complete, the report says.