Former Wheelerville school demolished

CAROGA- After standing for more than 150 years, the former Wheelerville Union Free School was torn down this week due to the condition of the building.

The oldest section of the Town Hall, which was not being used by the municipality, was demolished Wednesday, according to town Supervisor Ralph Ottuso.

“They had it all down on Wednesday,” Ottuso said.

The building was taken down by crews from Fulton County’s Solid Waste Department, he said, which demolished in one day. Crews from Solid Waste will work on cleaning up the site, which, as of Friday, contained scrap metal, piles of dirt and a large underground tank.

Ottuso said demolition of the building has been talked about in the town for several years. The building was in poor condition, he said, and had not been used by the town for some time.

Ottuso said members of the Town Board have been working on getting the building demolished for some time.

“It has actually been in the works for 14 years,” Ottuso said.

Ottuso said the cost of the demolition would be paid in tipping fees to the Fulton?County landfill. The exact cost of the tipping fees is not know, but Ottuso said he expects to find out in about a week.

Richard Nilsen, the town historian, said the building will be missed.

“I – and several people I have talked to – felt sad about it,” he said.

Nilsen said members of the Town Board tried to apply to have the building registered as a landmark, but were not successful.

According to Nilsen, the building was originally a schoolhouse built in 1856. Eventually, the school was expanded into the structure that was demolished. In 1991, the Wheelerville Union Free School moved into a new location, leaving the building vacant for a short time. Town officials moved into the structure the same year.

Previously, town officials took steps to repair and maintain the building on Route 10 and alleviate concerns over air quality.

In the November 2010 election, voters rejected a proposition to borrow $999,000 to build a new Town Hall in a 301 to 171 vote, according to unofficial tallies from the Fulton County Board of Elections.

The town Planning Board also has developed a proposed comprehensive plan that includes a new Town Center to be a hub of economic activity in the community and the new home of Town Hall.

However, the final results from that plan were not expected to happen until 2025.

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