Like a hungry T-rex nudging its fallen prey, the jaws of an excavator brushed a pile of debris that had been a mason-block wall at Lincoln Heights Elementary School.
This week, crews began the demolition phase of replacing three elementary schools for Spokane Public Schools.Excavators – machines with long, strong mechanical arms perched on tank-line treads – began poking and prying holes Monday in Lincoln Heights and Ridgeview elementary schools. Demolition is to begin today at Lidgerwood.
An excavator at Ridgeview was pulling out windows and punching holes in walls as an abatement crew outfitted in masks and white suits waited to inspect walls for asbestos.
Excavator operator Louis Ray, who has been in the demolition business in Spokane since 1962, drew the attention of two neighborhood preschoolers who stopped their play when they heard the sound of broken glass.
Ray said if that he concentrates, he can pick up a soda can with the metal hand – or clamshell, as he calls it. On Monday morning he scooped up hunks of sidewalk around the school and placed them on a truck.
Much of aluminum on the buildings will be recycled. Even some of the large wooden beams will be reclaimed from the demolition.
Stephanie Richling, 18, stopped to take pictures of her former school. Her mom went there, as did her aunt and uncle. Richling, a recent graduate of Shadle Park High School, said she called her mom with the news, but she couldn’t reach her.
“I don’t know if she’ll want it for her scrapbook or not,” she said.
But just in case, she snapped several shots.
Richling gulped when she saw that the first classroom to really get clobbered was her former third- and fourth-grade classroom.
“The first one they knock down, I was in,” Richling said.
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