LDS Meeting House Gutted Of Debris, Mold, Asbestos – April 4, 2012
Kevin L. Hoover
A STREET – The LDS Meeting House is being gutted of debris, mold and asbestos, all of which are, or were in plentiful supply there.
Last week, following previous removal of the church’s spire, workers were busy pulling out all the abandoned furnishings and piling them up in back for transport to a toxic landfill on Vacaville.
Large piles of disused property were heaped outside, including furniture, books, computers, TVs, photocopiers, trophies, kitchenware and most everything else a once-bustling church might contain. Inside, Spanish-speaking workers were systematically rolling up wet carpets and carrying them out the back door.
The LDS church has maintained that mold damage was so extensive that renovating the building for safe use could cost more than demolishing it. Some preservationists considered this a ruse and mocked the claim, calling it “demon mold” and suggesting that use of water and bleach would clear up the problem.
LDS officials had never allowed access to the building’s interior – nor have the listed property managers in Utah and Chico, Calif. ever returned a phone call from the paper. Even a scheduled tour by City officials was limited to the outside of the building at the last minute, with no church officials attending. But with the doors flung wide last week, it was possible to inspect the true extent of the damage the LDS church had described.
Since it was abandoned in the early 2000s, the building has been allowed to deteriorate substantially. The capacious complex reeks of mold and mildew, with walls and ceilings blackened by creeping fungus flora.
Carpets are sodden from rain literally flowing down from holes in the ceiling, and the sound of trickling water can be heard throughout the building.
Debris, since cleared, was strewn about randomly in the many rooms of the complex, much of the material wet and grimy from years in the sealed building.
Disturbingly, tiles which apparently contain asbestos have crumbled to pieces and fallen to the floor in multiple locations. Some areas are impassable and have been taped off. Signs warning of asbestos contamination have been posted.
The one area somewhat unaffected, at least on the surface, is the gyymnasium on the south end. Unlike the rest of the building, the gym is large, airy and relatively well-lit due to the large windows that allowed in more light, which possibly abated the mold situation.
By Friday, the Meeting House’s rooms had been emptied of furnishings and asbestos removal was in progress, with plastic sheeting sealing exits.
Bruce McIntosh of Kernen Construction, which is managing the demolition, said the deconstruction will get underway as soon as the asbestos and hazardous materials are removed this week.
Demolition, he said, should be completed by the end of April. The building’s bricks will be recycled and crushed for gravel.