Birdsong demolition on track

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 28, 2004

By 2005, a Suffolk legacy will be a new piece of history.

A demolition company will raze Birdsong Recreation Center by the end of December, said Gerry Jones, the city’s director of capital projects.

&uot;We’ll begin taking down the building just before or right after Christmas,&uot; said Jones.

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The demolition paves the way for extending Finney Avenue to the west, ultimately to Wellons Street, and creating a clear North Main Street vista for the $22 million Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.

Built in 1958, the building provided recreational facilities for generations of Suffolk youth. It has not been

used since August, when Department of Parks and Recreation offices were relocated and program activities were moved to other facilities across the city.

Over the past 30 days, people who bought items auctioned off from the center have been picking them

up, Jones said.

Birdsong’s gymnasium flooring will eventually become the hardwood floor in someone’s home. And the bleachers, where generations of spectators have watched recreation center sports, went to a local gymnastics center.

Before the demolition begins, a team of contractors will spend about two weeks removing asbestos from the building, Jones said.

Triad Demolition, a Richmond-based company that has done extensive work in Suffolk, will handle the project, Jones said. The company’s bid came in under budget at $142,000.

&uot;It will take about 30 days for the building to come down,&uot; Jones said. &uot;They will pull it down, piece by piece, similar to what was done with the school administration building.&uot;

Once the building is down, the city’s public utilities department will spend about eight months doing roughly $450,000 in utility work, replacing pipes, fixing underground utilities, and other jobs.