Old St. Albans Junior High set to be demolished

Published: Dec. 17, 2020 at 6:07 PM EST
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ST. ALBANS, W.Va. (WSAZ) - The city of St. Albans is working to demolish the old Junior High School building that has been closed for more than 25 years and was condemned following a fire in March of 2018.

City Council approved the project this week and has begun the bidding process. The city expects the project to cost at least $400,000 to demolish the building and safely remove the asbestos that is inside.

“It is going to make all the difference in the world,” Mayor Scott James said. “Immediately property values in that area are going to start rising because that drops the property values in that area. Because it is such an eyesore, such a blight, to our community.”

James said removing the building is very important because neighbors are concerned it could collapse at any time, damaging their houses and yards. The demolition will improve the look of the area and provide a boost to the area.

“We could subdivide, build single dwelling homes, or some nice condos or something like that,” the mayor said about the land after the demolition. “It is going to bring up the property values and it is going to bring the people to St. Albans that is going to make us a better community.”

Rebecca Anderson has lived across the street from the school building for more than 20 years, and has witnessed it fall into disrepair. Anderson said many people in the neighborhood have been working for years to sign petitions to have the building demolished.

“Being around here with people going in and out of that building, you don’t know what is going on,” Anderson said. “I’ll be glad when it is down. I’ll feel safer, I think, I really do.”

Charles and Kim Waugh live two houses down from the old building, and said they are no longer able to spend time in their back yard because of the odor the burnt building releases.

“Our backyard it’s a strong smell,” Kim Waugh said. “I’m sure it’s not healthy at all.”

“There used to be broken windows, the grass not cut,” Charles Waugh added. “Animals, like raccoons, taking up residence in there.”

The mayor said the demolition should begin in the spring, and they will work to decide what will be put in the newly open space in the coming months.

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