Former middle school building to be demolished

EBENSBURG – After three years of waiting, and a bidder who wouldn’t bite, Central Cambria School Board voted Monday to raze its old middle school, an 86-year-old structure badly in need of renovations.

The building has been vacant for three years, after the district’s sixth- through eighth-graders transferred to the high school campus after a multi-million dollar addition was built.

The board approved a $173,000 contract with Tyrone-based G & R Excavating and Demolition to raze the building this summer, with work to be completed by the time students return to classes in the fall.

“We would like to get it down and perhaps market the property as something that’s a good spot for some type of business,” said Superintendent Vincent DiLeo.

The board had been looking at other options for months. DiLeo announced at a February school board meeting that an agreement between the district and an unnamed local bidder looked like it was going nowhere.

“He was unable to get funding, and we had no solid interest other than that,” DiLeo said.

The board discussed its options but suggested DiLeo look first at demolition costs.

DiLeo said the district solicited four bids and received two. Though the building was far from a safety hazard, its infrastructure was deteriorating, and the board didn’t want to get to the point where windows or bricks were falling out and the structure would have to be condemned.

“It’s not getting in any better shape,” and the 4-acre property wasn’t generating any money or use, he said, and required regular checks for break-ins and grass cutting. “It would take a lot for someone to get in and rehabilitate it.”

An athletic field across the street from the old middle school will not be included in the sale, nor will parking spaces designated for the Ebensburg Library.

“There are people who would like to see it remain up. But it’s just not doing anybody any good,” DiLeo said.