The walls are coming down and the old McCormick Middle School is almost gone.
But next week you’ll be able to take home a piece of the old building, which dates back to 1867 when it was raised as Union School.
Bricks can be taken by residents at no cost between 7:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. over the course of three days starting Thursday, March 24.
Bill Skaggs, project manager for Ozanne Construction, said his crews will have palettes sitting out off Dickson Street where community members can grab their commemorative bricks.
“We’re anticipating that there’s a pretty big demand,” said Wellington Schools business manager Tim Wulfhoop. “That’s why we’re saying, at least to start off, one brick per person.”
“We don’t want to create a panic situation where the first 10 people take all the bricks,” he said. “We want to make sure that everybody who wants one can get one.”
When “The Last Lunch” was held in October, more than 1,000 people turned out to chow down and shoot hoops as a way to say goodbye to McCormick.
Wulfhoop said he views the turnout that day as an indicator of how many folks will want their own bricks to remember the school.
The biggest question at the moment is how to ensure some bricks get into the hands of alumni or relatives who live out of town and can’t pick them up by Saturday, March 26. Wulfhoop said residents can return to get a second brick for those cases.
“We’ll do our darnedest to make sure everybody gets a piece of history,” he said.
The bricks that will be made available have been picked because they’re in fairly good shape with the mortar largely knocked off and fewer sharp edges.
What is not taken to be sold to a company that will recycle the bricks, Skaggs said.
Ozanne is looking to be completely finished with demolition of the old McCormick by the beginning of May.
Skaggs’ crews are nearly done knocking down interior walls and will start on the exteriors next week.
Remaining work includes removing footers and back-filling the entire site to grade, he said.
Wulfhoop said he is crossing his fingers and hoping no surprises remain in the project. He worries Ozanne will find a forgotten underground fuel tank or other hazard that would cause problems.
When finished, all concrete will be gone and only asphalt parking spots, grass, dirt, and trees will remain. Fencing around a green area along Courtland and Carpenter streets will stay up at the village’s request, but other chain link will be removed.
Now Wulfhoop is setting his sights on reconstructing the preserved sandstone arch that once served as the main entrance to McCormick.
It will cost an estimated $80,000 to building a brick structure on which to mount the arch, which will one day serve as a McCormick exhibit.
Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.
Jason Hawk | Wellington Enterprise Wellington Schools superintendent Dennis Mock briefs the board of education on the timeline for demoltion of the old McCormick Middle School, which is entering its final phase.
Photos by Evan Goodenow | Wellington Enterprise Heavy equipment is parked outside the school, where scrap is being rapidly removed from the interior of McCormick.