Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Peterson Space Observer

Commissary demolition surpasses recycling expectations

(U.S. Air Force photo/Lea Johnson) A construction worker sprays water to keep the debris down during the old commissary deconstruction. The goal is to recycle 50 percent of the building. The project is anticipated to be completed by Aug. 19, 2011.

By Lea Johnson

21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — After a few bumps in the road, the demolition of the old commissary on Peterson AFB is nearly complete, and soon the corner of Stewart Avenue and Otis Street will be an empty lot.

The project, originally planned to be completed in April, is now scheduled to be completed Aug. 19.

After the initial three weeks of asbestos abatement, additional asbestos was found in the building. This led to a 13-week delay while funds were raised, followed by another nine weeks of asbestos abatement.

Preparation for the demolition began July 5, said Kevin Spala, senior project manager at Cape, the California company heading the demolition project. This meant pulling any salvageable material from inside the building to be recycled, including metal, compressors and other functioning components.

Originally, Spala had intended to return the ceiling tiles to the manufacturer, Armstrong, for recycling. However, because of the asbestos in the old building, the ceiling tiles wouldn’t be accepted and had to be sent for disposal.

In spite of this hiccup, Cape is still going to surpass its LEED goal of recycling or reusing 50 percent of the materials.

According to Spala, a large portion of the recycling will come from the foundation. Once the demolition of the building is complete, the foundation will be broken up with big hammers on an excavator, and then put into a crusher where it will be broken up and sized for back fill.

“There’s no particle greater than two inches for this back fill. Basically, it compacts real well, there’s little void space,” said Spala.

The back fill will provide a stable surface for future projects on the lot.

Fred Brooks, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron civil engineer, said the long term plan for the area is to build an office complex.

“We have a lot of entities that want to come onto Peterson but we don’t have the place to put them so we turn them down,” said Brooks.

The plan will provide the most efficient use of space and land on Peterson, while giving more groups the opportunity to relocate here.

The next step in the plan will be the deconstruction of the former Base Exchange in 2014.

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