LOWELL | After a decade of wrangling with owner of the historic structure known as the Old Grade School, the Town Council agreed Monday to hire a company to demolish the brick building.
Representatives of Americo Engineering, of Valparaiso, recommended the bid of ChemCheck, of Hebron, at $177,000. Three other firms also bid on the contract.
The company said it will take about six weeks once the notice to proceed with the project is given.
Funding for the project will come through Lake County from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The town expects to receive $175,000.
The building has been in disrepair for many years, and the town has been in court with property owner Maria Bodor numerous times attempting to either enforce building codes or collect fines for violations.
Americo representatives said asbestos was found in the piping and an underground tank will need to be removed.
Still, the council learned Monday there are no expectations of harmful materials. The removed asbestos will go to the Newton County landfill. Other construction debris will go to the Allied Waste construction and demolition landfill immediately west of Lowell.
The brick and concrete is expected to be recycled. A wind fence will be installed to control dust.
The former schoolhouse is adjacent to Lowell Town Hall, 525 E. Main St.
Once listed on the Indiana Landmarks "Ten Most Endangered List," the building was removed when demolition became certain. The town completed a Section 106 review in which Tiffany Tolbert, director of Indiana Landmarks, took part. The review was required to tap into the DNR funds to raze the structure.
The Three Creeks Historical Association will receive a number of historically significant pieces of the building for preservation.