Audubon School In Need Of Major Repair - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Audubon School In Need Of Major Repair

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The Rock Island Milan School District says it's in a bind with the old Audubon School. District officials say the school's boiler needs to be fixed to pass a state inspection in January, otherwise they can't keep the heat on come winter,  and the building could fall further into disrepair. 

"When a building sits like this, it just takes its toll," Building Operations Manager Gary Eastman says. 

It's only been three and a half years since a student walked these halls, and already Audubon School is starting to show its age. 

"Carpet floors buckle, tiling, ceiling tile starts to curl up, paint starts to peel off the wall," Eastman says. 

Leaks, crumbling brick and mortar, and a boiler all need attention to keep the building afloat. 

"The flue that's up here that goes to the chimney stack, that's going to have to all be replaced, all the way from the top of the boiler to the chimney," Eastman says. 

Vandalism is also taking its toll on the building, school officials say there have been nine attempted break-ins since it's been empty, causing even more damage to the school. 

"When they break in, they like to do graffiti, they like to discharge fire extinguishers, and it costs time and money to come repair that and fix it," Superintendent Michael Oberhaus says. 

It costs $30,000 a year to keep the building looking as is and $400 dollars for each broken window. The district says that money could be used on students.  

"It is a financial burden but we also know the more dilapidation of the school will occur if we don't keep it up, it'll become an eye sore, and we believe will diminish the marketability of the property," Dr. Oberhaus says. 

Now the district is at a crossroads, funnel more money into this building to keep it for sale, let it sit and fall apart, or get rid of it.  

"We need to look at the long term viability of continuing to maintain structures that are vacant," Oberhaus says.

The cost of fixing the boiler is around $30,000. Leaving it along and cutting off gas and water to the building would save $25,000. 

They could also demolish the school at a cost somewhere between $200,000-$220,000. 

The district has already spent over $90,000 so far to keep utilities on since the school's been empty.     

District officials are getting bids for the boiler work and will make a recommendation to the school board October 22nd.

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