Armory demolition moves forward using federal money

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Empire Construction excavators began to tear down several buildings at the former National Guard Armory on Wednesday.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Empire Construction excavators began to tear down several buildings at the former National Guard Armory on Wednesday.

Passersby watched this week as three buildings on the site of the old Nevada National Guard Armory on south Carson Street were turned into rubble.

Project Coordinator Ken Scarbrough of the Public Works Board said that and two other demolition projects were put on hold when funding to do the work was reverted as part of the state's budget cuts. But while the other two are state projects, the armory is half federal and half state. He said the federal match money for the armory project was still available so they started by taking down 15 smaller buildings and sheds in the back of the property in June.

But with tough economic times, bids came in as much as 40 percent of what they would have two years ago, so there was money left over. Scarbrough said it was money that would revert to the federal government if the state didn't use it by Sept. 30, the end of the federal fiscal year.

Empire Construction won the contract to take down three more buildings including the 150th National Guard Maintenance Garage - rated as the most likely to have serious soil contamination under the foundation - for $133,000.

Since that contract also came in under budget, he said there is still some federal money left. He is trying to contract for another project by Sept. 29 to do asbestos abatement work inside the remaining structures.

Scarbrough said that before the bulldozers arrived Tuesday, the Carson City Fire Department conducted some training, which resulted in a number of broken windows and damaged walls.

He said environmental assessments of the property including groundwater, soil, asbestos and as well as an historic review have all been conducted. All asbestos and lead had to be removed before demolition.

There were originally 26 structures on the property. Scarbrough said it will take a lot more money to take down the main building, former offices of emergency management and homeland security, and the original armory south of that.

The metal structures on the east property line, he said, will remain because they are still useful for storage.

As for the property, he said there are no current plans except that the state will keep ownership of the parcel.

Two other demolition projects are still on hold because of the budget cuts. The Kinkead Building and Children's Home cottages are budgeted for destruction in the upcoming capital improvement budget if the Legislature and governor approve the expense.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at gdornan@nevadaappeal.com or 687-8750.

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