Demolition on Barnard building begins

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 10/11/2012 5:29 pm Published: 10/11/2012 3:07 pm

A historic Tulsa building destroyed by flames is coming down.

Work crews began the process of demolishing the 87-year-old Barnard Elementary building. Fire ruined most of the building in early September making the property a hazard.

With the pinch of a metal claw, the southeast wall of the building comes crashing to earth sending up plumes of dust. Crews use high-powered water hoses to water the brick down keeping the dust under control. Built back in the 1920’s, there is asbestos present making the property extremely hazardous.

"There will be guys out here in space suits when they're really dealing with the asbestos," says TPS manager, Bob LaBass.

Fire ripped through the building September 5th. At that time, it was the new home for the Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences. The first priority of crews will be to remove the asbestos and then the remaining walls will be torn down. Some neighbors are concerned about damage to their lungs.

"There can be airborne asbestos especially when they are knocking a building down, and it just gets in the air,” says Jared Kaplin.

We found three ladies getting in some exercise on their lunch break. They come to the neighborhood two to three times a week, and hope that the building will be replaced with something everyone can use.

"It would be really nice if there was a park or something that was put there for neighbors and for people who work around here,” says Jeannette Nichols.

"I would like to see a park as well and a play area for the kids and a walking trail would be nice. If they could put a little pond in there as well, that would be very nice,” says Mindy Garcia.

Tulsa Public Schools says it has had developers contact them about the property, but so far, no decision can be made.

Demolition crews have put up flyers across the neighborhood that say there is no danger from asbestos as long as people stay off the property. The entire project is expected to take up to 45 days. Some of the architectural pieces of the building will be given to the Tulsa Historical Society.

TPS says the demolition crew will leave the stone retaining walls up because it can be costly to tear those down.

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