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Base engineers oversee demolition of three student officer quarters

By Sean Bowlin | 12th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs | Dec. 11, 2009

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — In order to make room for fresh grass that may be turned into a recreation area and to rid the base of a health hazard, Randolph Air Force Base's 12th Civil Engineer Division began demolishing the former student officer quarters located in Bldgs.161, 162 and 381 recently.

The buildings' demolition will take almost 30 days, said John Howry, a landscape architect with the 12th CE Division. He added the project has been planned for about a year and the contract for the demolition was let last September through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Twenty-one contractors will be clearing asbestos flooring from the buildings, which were built in 1969 and were destined for demolition because they would have cost more to fix than to tear down, he explained. All material contaminated with asbestos will be disposed of in the correct manner set forth by Federal standards.

"The buildings were in disarray and were in bad need of repair," Mr. Howry said. "They were basically a health hazard."

As part of the actual demolition, 10 additional contractors used two hydraulic Trac Hoes, which take large, bucket-sized bites out of the buildings.

"We're taking it apart, piece by piece," Mr. Howry said.

Refuse from the demolition is being loaded into trucks and hauled off, he added. Metal is separated from old sheetrock and wood and is set aside for recycling before being hauled away. Furniture from the rooms in the buildings was put up for sale at the Bargain Barn.

After the demolition's debris is all hauled away, Mr. Howry said the land formerly hosting the three buildings and their 120 guest rooms will be filled with a solid lawn of Zoysia sod.

"The sod will have a temporary irrigation system installed until it takes root, which is normally two to three weeks," he said.

During the demolition phase, the existing oak trees will remain in place and untouched by the work, but there will be two Chinese Tallow trees and a handful of Hollywood Juniper trees that are included in the demolition due to their age, condition and location to the structures.

After the sod, Randolph's outdoor grilling enthusiasts may possibly be in for a treat.

"We may put picnic tables and barbecues up, but we aren't sure about that yet," said Mary Eddy, 12th Force Support Squadron base lodging manager.