Amherst’s First Bite demolition party at old Powers school canceled

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Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times
The inside of Powers Elementary School is empty and dark. The exception in the gymnasium, where the roof has already been removed and sunlight streams in.

JASON HAWK
EDITOR

If you dreamed of helping knock down the walls of Powers Elementary School, we have bad news.

“The First Bite” fundraiser, which would have given you a chance to get behind the controls of an excavator and do some damage, has been canceled.

It had been planned for April 1, and would have marked the start of demolition at the Washington Street school.

Chuck Grimmett, head of buildings and maintenance for the Amherst Schools, said the event would have drawn a crowd far larger than 100 and violated restrictions put in place by Gov. Mike DeWine to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“If we start drawing that many people, we’ll hear about it for sure,” Grimmet said.

It wouldn’t be right, he said, to cancel school, sporting events, concerts and plays, and then sell tickets to a demolition watch party.

All asbestos has been removed from inside the old Powers Elementary, and the building is ready for tear-down, Grimmett said.

The gym roof was removed by workers abating hazardous materials.

With school canceled — possibly for the rest of the year, DeWine hinted Sunday morning on CNN — workers could start tearing down the school early.

“It’s ready to go. There’s nothing in there,” Grimmett said.

Trees will stay on the property, he siad, as will the Powers Elementary School sign, as a monument to the work done there for so many years.

Maintenance employees have been placed on reduced “summer” hours and buildings were closed to the public as of Wednesday.

Every child in grades three to 12 walked home Friday with a notebook computer in hand

and is expected to continue lessons online.