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August 14, 2009

Reality Ends for Old Instructional Building

First George Lucas Structure Gives Way to a Park

By By Alicia Woods



The George Lucas Instructional Building, cinematic home to thousands of students from 1984 until 2008, was demolished during the months of June and July, using the most sophisticated equipment available. However, the stucco and brick, four-story classroom and theater edifice did not go quietly into that good night, for its rebar steel skeletal frame proved to be more resilient than expected.

Employing commercial property demolition techniques that minimized the environmental impact of tearing down and disposing of the building, the Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company (HDCCo) noted that it salvaged tons of steel, copper piping, roofing tiles, and windows/frames from the site. Even massive chunks of concrete were being sent to a crushing plant to be refashioned into materials for new construction projects.

Though no asbestos was found, all non-recyclable elements were stripped from the structure beforehand, including caulking, floor tiles and dry wall. Jerry Bendewish, project superintendent of HDCCo, was pleased that overall, the amount of materials sent to a landfill constituted less than 20 percent of the building's mass.

Bendewish noted that a water filtration system is being constructed underground in place of the Lucas building's foundation. Once that system is complete, landscapers will create a parkway on top of it that will feature trees, benches and bike racks. The open space, which is just to the east of the new School of Cinematic Arts complex, is expected to be completed by December.