Demolition of Maxwell row housing on schedule
Row housing near Maxwell Elementary School is being demolished. The area should be cleared and made into green space by early next year, officials say. (Air Force photo/Bennett Rock)
Demolition of Maxwell row housing on schedule



by Carl Bergquist
Air University Public Affairs


10/29/2010 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Maxwell's row house demolition is on schedule to have the area back to grass by the first of 2011, the Hunt Building Company project manager said.

Tim Bass said the project had to be delayed slightly until Air University students graduated and vacated the housing, but the last of the buildings would be coming down within the next couple of weeks. He said there were a few challenges with footings and asbestos, but the project is on track.

"The drought helped us a little by making it easier to remove some extremely deep footings we encountered on some of the buildings," Mr. Bass said. "We also ran into asbestos in the adhesive used for floor tiles in the kitchens and bathrooms in some of the buildings, but that only caused a slight delay."

He said Hunt Building Company was "very sensitive" to the proximity of the Maxwell Elementary School to the demolition area and began on buildings closest to the school to keep the inconvenience to the school to a minimum.

"The area nearest the school where the first 12 building stood is graded and ready, so we will be seeding it soon. We have cut off the gas, sewer and electricity but did keep the storm drains in place, and saved as many trees as possible," Mr. Bass said. "About three weeks after the first seeding, the area where the next 12 buildings were located will be seeded, and three weeks later, the rest of the area will receive grass seed. Right now, I'm trying to decide what type of seed to use. The coming cold weather will play a role in that decision."

He said the demolition process started with building surveys to determine if they contained asbestos. The soil was also checked for Chlordane, an insecticide often used in the 1980s, and none was found. Once the asbestos was removed the demolition began, and all metal and wiring was scrapped as the process went along.

He said water sprayed on the buildings helped keep down dust. The next steps were to remove the slabs and building footings, some of which were five to nine feet deep, grade the area and plant grass seed.

"The roads are fairly simple as they are made of asphalt on a gravel base and come up very easily," Mr. Bass said. "However, grass will not grow up through the gravel, so we have to put a layer of topsoil down to accommodate the seed."

Once the project is completed, the land will be returned to Maxwell's property inventory for possible later use by the base.