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First Cortez high school demolition phase is complete

Project was put on hold last weekend

The retired Montezuma-Cortez High School demolition project is back on track after slipping in mid-June, and Re-1 School District Owner’s Representative Jim Ketter said June 20 that the first phase of the demolition is essentially complete.

Ketter gave school board members an update on the project at the district’s board meeting on Tuesday. Demolition was put on hold from Thursday to Monday morning after a letter raised concern about a deposit debris from the demolition at a site on County Road G.

District officials issued a stop-work order on the project on June 15, but it was lifted the following Monday after demolition contractor Iron Mountain, of Colorado Springs, agreed to transport all demolition debris to the Montezuma County Landfill or another site approved by both the city of Cortez and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, according to Ketter.

“We have been working fast and furious to address all those concerns,” Ketter said.

Iron Mountain representatives told district officials that they feel everything they did was in compliance with the demolition contract, Ketter said. The company was not transporting the debris to the Road G site for financial reasons, he said. They did so in an effort to involve local companies and contractors in the process, Ketter added.

Board member Kara Suckla asked if Iron Mountain had dealt with a similar situation in the past. Ketter told her that the company had not, and was surprised by the claims in the letter.

Several local, state and federal agencies, including Montezuma County planning department and the Army Corps of Engineers, are still investigating the letter’s claims, Ketter said.

The first phase of demolition involves the auxiliary gym at the old high school, as well as adjacent classrooms that are part of the 1979 addition to the building, Ketter said. That part of the building contains no asbestos or other hazardous materials, so officials decided to demolish that part first.

The second phase of the project will include demolition of the rest of the building. Iron Mountain has not yet selected a demolition method for phase two, Ketter said. The company should know which demolition method has been approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment within the next month, Ketter said.

Board members said they were glad that Ketter and other district officials were able to handle the issue quickly.

“I appreciate the work that you’ve done,” board President Jack Schuenemeyer said.


Iron Mountain Letter (PDF)

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