It only took three days to tear down the aging Superior Junior High building located across the road from the Mineral County Fair Grounds. The demolition started on Tuesday, Jan. 29 and was completely gone and hauled away by Thursday.
J & J Excavating and Trucking out of Corvallis was hired for the demolition. They used five trucks and hauled away approximately 600-700 yards of debris said Brian Jones with J & J. He said things went well working with town officials, “we’ll knock it down, haul it off and make it look good after we’re though,” he said on Tuesday.
Jackson Construction is in charge of the entire project and the project manager, Sam Gardiner said they did an abatement a few weeks ago and tested for hazardous material. They found asbestos in the black mastic glue fibers and some in the sheet rock. It was removed and sent to a special area in the jump in Missoula. The other building debris was also hauled to the Missoula dump. With the entire demolition costing around $50,000.
Now people can look across the empty lot and have a clear view of the bus barn and high school. The area will be filled in with gravel and eventually seeded for a grassy field said Superior Superintendent, Scott Kinney. No further plans have been made for the area.
The iconic blue building was originally The Super Saver Shopping Center which opened in May, 1962. It was sold to the high school in September 1972 for $37,800. The 70-x-160- foot pre-fab building was never built to last, yet has endured 56 years and countless junior high students, and Mineral County fair-goers. The building was used for years by the Mineral County Fair for exhibits.
Renovations on the building to turn it into the Junior High cost of $68,428 and classes began in August 1973. But the building was never designed to be a school with narrow hallways and has had chronic issues including a leaky roof, spring flooding, plumbing problems and faulty electrical systems. There were also concerns of radon and black mold in the basement.
The Super Saver was a franchise out of Spokane and was bought by Ray and Harry Ormesher and the store manager was Orland Flynn. At that time, there were several other grocery stores in the thriving lumber town including Castles & Arpan’s Empire Foods located where the Wells Fargo building was across the river (which later became Castles which is still open across from the county courthouse). Plus Hilton’s Grocery located on the south end where the Mineral County Public Library is located and Lacombes Red and White Grocer where the current Napa store is located.
The Super Saver was only open for three years. Ev Shultz, long-time resident and the school administrator at Superior High School, recalled when the Diamond Match Mill employees went on strike during that time period. The other grocery stores extended credit to the striking employees but Super Saver refused. She felt this was the demise of the store, since their customer base took their loyalties elsewhere.
“There are a lot of memories in that old school, Schultz said. Her boyfriend from high school worked at the Super Saver. Another original employee, Louise Miles also worked there and still lives in Superior.
“But the building needed to go. It wasn’t built to last like the Old School (located on River Street) and wasn’t worth saving,” she said.
Superior residents passed a bond levy last year for $3.2 million for an addition to the high school. The 14,000-square-foot “L”-shaped addition along the perimeter of the high school opened for classes in December.
However, they are still waiting for shelving and some furniture before it is completely finished said Kinney. Once completed they will have an open house for the public to tour the facility. For now, students walk into a freshly painted and newly carpeted hallway with the archway reading “Superior Junior High” in large silver letters. There are four classrooms, equipped with a wall of retractable smart boards and new tables and chairs.
The library is filled with boxes of books awaiting the new shelves and there is a health enhancement room with weights and other gym equipment. Along with a wood and metal shop filled with saws, tables, tools and a top-of-the line ventilation system. Just across the hall is the sound of basketballs being bounced and kids playing behind doors to the high school gym.
“It’s all been pretty exciting,” said Kinney. “Everything has turned out pretty much as planned without any major problems.”