A controlled collapse brought the Cleveland High School Raider Dome to the ground well before sunrise Monday morning, after more than 50 years of sporting events, gym classes and school assemblies.
Director of City Schools Martin Ringstaff said the dome deconstruction occurred earlier than anticipated.
“We knew the dome was close to coming down,” he said. “We figured it would be later this week so we were a little surprised when we found out it was brought down at 4:30 a.m. Monday.
“The construction company was under no obligation to alert us, so it was a pleasant surprise. Bringing it down leaves only the option for progress.”
The sudden change might come as a surprise for the community. Sunday the dome was still standing without many signs of outward disturbances. Monday found the round, white dome roof crumpled on the gym’s first floor.
Project manager Hal Taylor explained much of the work completed in preceding weeks occurred inside the dome.
“What nobody could see going on down below was where the water lines were rerun and the gas lines were rerun,” he said. “Also these great, big concrete foundations were put in for the shoring of the common wall. That had to be done first before they demolished [the dome].”
Salvageable items were removed prior to the heavy deconstruction. Bleachers or parts of them were variously sold, made into commemorative pieces or transferred to the high school’s volleyball gym. The three-year-old high efficiency lights were saved. Shoring was completed to ensure the common wall’s stability.
According to Taylor, large trackhoes demolished the gymnasium. The machines struck the hollow dome walls. The roof fell to the floor once the walls were sufficiently weakened.
The construction crew will utilize the backhoes to clear the area.
“They will clear everything that is there out of the way,” Taylor said. “The next step I believe is they will put a jackhammer on the front of those backhoes, or at least one of them. They will have to start jackhammering the poured concrete structure.”
He said concrete on the basement level is very thick.
Progress at the construction site will now be more prevalent to onlookers.
“We are trying to be safe and efficient,” Taylor said. “We are on a schedule. We are trying to stay on schedule and make sure the contractors stay on schedule as well.”
The projected date of completion for the deconstruction of the dome and the construction of the new Raider gymnasium is late 2015.