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Coliseum Should Make Good Gravel

How is Spokane ever going to get rid of 10 million big chunks of broken concrete?

That concern seems to be on the minds of quite a few, judging from the queries I have received.

The problem has to do with disposing of debris from demolition of the Spokane Coliseum, that mammoth old reinforced-concrete bunker sometimes referred to as the Boone Avenue Barn.

It could be used to fill in the crater of Mount St. Helen’s, suggested one caller.

Or to patch the hole in the Pacific Coast left when California slides off into the ocean, proposed another.

Either that, or, some readers wager, it’s going to cost taxpayers millions in dump fees. But never fear, says Jerry Schlatter, project manager for the new arena. Gillingham Construction Co. of Boise has the solution.

The low bidder on the demolition contract is going to recycle the concrete.

Never heard of it? Well, says Schlatter, this outfit knows how to grind up old concrete buildings it knocks down and sell their remains for reuse as gravel.

Not only that, he says, but Gillingham is going to recycle the rebar, which will be melted down and made into something else. Finally, an environmentally sensitive wrecking company.

Not only is this demolition contractor politically correct, the methods and markets the company has developed with its recycling experience makes it profitable where others have failed. Schlatter said he has no doubt the returns from recycling helped to make Gillingham low bidder.

There were 13 bidders on the demolition work and, Schlatter said, “And there was quite a spread in bids. Gillingham, of course, came low at $812,390. The high was nearly twice as much - $1.49 million.

Schlatter says he also wants to defuse a rumor going around that the old arena might be blown up - imploded. No chance, assures Schlatter. Dynamite is out.

With a reinforced concrete monolith as massive at this, mechanical forms of demolition can take a while, Schlatter agrees.

The task ahead brings to mind an old newspaper building in downtown Portland that was dynamited and pounded relentlessly month after month. Finally it had to be blow-torched and hacked apart. It just wouldn’t go down.

But Schlatter says he expects the old coliseum to bite the dust by the end of summer. It’s going to take the next couple months to remove the asbestos. , says Schlatter. Actual demolition of the structure will probably start in June.

“We’ll have it down about the first of August,” he says. Then, part of the parking lot for the new arena that the old coliseum now sits on will be paved.

Everything’s on schedule for a mid-September opening.

Unlike another big civic projects coming on line shortly, the Spokane Transit Center’s downtown bus depot, the new $60-million arena project is coming on line on time at cost. says Schlatter.

Also, Schlatter says, in removing the asphalt for construction of the arena, the Spokane Public Facilities Board had a company come in, grind up the blacktop and recycle it, as well, to build new highways.

Too bad the Safeway at Shadle Center won’t be recycled.

It seems a waste to destroy such a good old building, some Shadle customers have suggested.

But store manager John Felice says the 1955-model building was last upgraded in 1978 and, “It’s not up to the image we want to convey.”

Although at 33,000 square feet, the supermarket easily qualifies as a “superstore” in size, it’s replacement at Shadle will be over once and a half again as big.

The Tomlinson Black Group, property manager, says Safeway will relocate to the long-vacant former Penney’s store at Shadle. The move is part of what the property managers hope will be a major reconfiguration and expansion of the 320,000-square-foot center.

In the old Penney’s store, the “new” Safeway will occupy 55,000 square feet. That’ll “probably” make it the biggest store inside the city limits, at least, says Felice. “And it’ll have all the latest bells and whistles,” he promises.

The existing Safeway store will be leveled to make room for more parking.


The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Frank Bartel The Spokesman-Review

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Kim Jong Un says Koreas are on starting line of a new history

UPDATED: 9:53 p.m.

With a single step over a weathered, cracked slab of concrete, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un made history Friday by crossing over the world’s most heavily armed border to greet South Korean President Moon Jae-in for talks on North Korea’s nuclear weapons. Kim then invited Moon to cross briefly back into the north with him before they returned to the southern side.