School move bogged down by 70-year-old concrete |

School move bogged down by 70-year-old concrete

The Cardiff schoolhouse move has turned into a real booger. The work is nasty and difficult to get at.

Rather than simply lifting up the historic clapboard school, Bailey House Movers workers must blast the school free from tons of concrete that were poured around the floor joists when the structure was moved to its current location in the 1930s.

“They sure made it difficult for us,” said Bill Bailey, as he and his men slogged through the thick mud that surrounded the school Friday afternoon.

A light drizzle fell on Bailey’s crew, and the noisy jackhammers used to chisel out the school made normal conversation difficult.

“We hope to lift it up Tuesday, and move it Thursday,” Bailey shouted as he stacked wooden blocks under parts of the school house. “I can’t talk much. I’m kind of busy.”

The 113-year-old schoolhouse was first located about 700 feet north of its current location, on Cardiff Road in south Glenwood. In 1936, the city moved the school to its current site because it was too close to the airport runway the city planned to build.

The one-room school closed in 1947. Later, Mike Alsdorf acquired the property and used it for storing materials for his Down Valley Gutter Inc.

Alsdorf eventually donated the schoolhouse to The Red Mountain Friends of Historic Preservation, which has raised $25,000 to move the structure to Conservancy Park at the Park East subdivision just south of the airport.

A couple of discoveries have made the schoolhouse move more complicated, said Red Mountain Friends members Jean Martensen and Marice Doll.

Martensen said Bailey only learned of the concrete he’d have to blast out on Thursday. “You never know what kind of problems you might have until you get started,” Martensen said.

Despite the extra work, Bailey will not charge the historic preservation group more than the $12,000 it contracted for to move the structure, Martensen said.

Another surprise for Bailey was the original joists that hold up the floor. Doll said the joists were built six inches shorter than the full width of the building, and parts have also rotted through the years. Meanwhile, a new foundation for the 960-square-foot school has already been poured at Park East, not anticipating the six-inch gap.

The upshot is that Doll must scramble between now and Tuesday to buy 58 2-by-10-inch beams to attach to the floor joists so they’ll extend to the walls.

“We’re hoping to get some free lumber,” Doll said.

Martensen estimated the schoolhouse move at about a half-mile, and said the move itself should take about an hour. Doll said there’ll be a celebration at the Cardiff schoolhouse at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7.

“We want to acknowledge our donors,” Doll said.

Doll said when the schoolhouse is refurbished, it will be available for public functions and serve as an educational facility for the Roaring Fork Conservancy.

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