Former Fleischmanns school rebuilding nears completion
By Jay Braman Jr.
Flooding was not the only disaster to happen last year in Fleischmanns, where only weeks prior to back-to-back tropical storms ripping through the village, it was fire that destroyed half of the old Fleischmanns High School on Wagner Avenue.
But one year later, Architect Stewart Phillips, while walking through the newly dry walled hallways of the almost complete replacement structure, says that it is at least one village property that did not die.
Chance to improve
He also said that within the tragedy of last year’s flooding comes an opportunity to rebuild stronger, with environment and sustainability in mind.
“This community took a real hit last year,” said Phillips, a New York City based architect who owns a home in Fleischmanns, “I wanted people to see the evidence that Fleischmanns is coming back.”
It was at the beginning of August 2011 when an electrical fire destroyed the wooden building behind the brick built high school, just behind VW Auto Parts in the village. The blaze all but halted the religious/educational activities that had been a part of the property for years.
The rebuild happened quickly too, he said, thanks to pre fabrication techniques that get buildings built in factories elsewhere and get shipped out for quick assembly.
Now, Phillips said, instruction is expected to go back to full swing within a few weeks after work crews put the finishing touches on the three story building, which includes several apartments and a new dining hall.
And yes, the new structure was built with flooding in mind.
Standing in the parking lot of the school, Phillips said the water level was above waist high when Irene rushed through.
The new building has a special concrete/steel foundation that is not only above flood plane, but allows the water to run right through it.
“I don’t know if we will ever get something as bad as what happened last again,” he said, “But now we are prepared.”