The wrecking ball will be the last visitor for a vacant Rock Island school.
Board members approved demolishing Audobon School after a three year attempt to sell the building. Board members approved demolition after weighing four total options: shutting off the heat, fixing the boiler, demolition or selling the building.
The board chose demolition after the district's chief financial officer ran through the other options. Shutting off the heat would have saved water and natural gas costs, but the building would have begun to deteriorate much faster. It's already sat vacant for three years. Keeping the heat on would have forced the district to repair the school's boiler, which was required to be fixed.
The board already tried selling the building. It was close to a deal with Fareway, but opposition from neighbors caused Fareway to pull out of that plan. The school district received a verbal offer to buy the building, but never a written one.
Residents tried one last time to convince the board to give Audubon one last chance.
"There are people interested in acquiring this property and repurposing it so it can serve us for another 100 years," said one.
"As far as I'm concerned the object of the Rock Island school board is to educate the children of Rock Island, Illinois," said another.
Demolishing the school will cost $224,000. This is not the first time the district has faced this kind of choice. It closed Franklin school back in 1981. It sat vacant until 1992 when it was torn down.
Once the building is demolished the school district plans to continue selling the vacant lot. The district's CFO said vacant land could draw a higher asking price and could be more attractive to potential buyers.