GOUVERNEUR — Crews have torn down the century-old Dean Building at Gouverneur Central School, clearing the way for a new three-story structure that will house the front office and reception area, administrative offices and a music suite.

The work was the third and final phase of a $31.4 million capital project that was approved by voters in 2014.

School Superintendent Lauren French said it was cost-prohibitive to maintain the Dean School, which was built in 1914 by members of the Dean family and served as the original high school. Although it had a brick facade, the building was constructed of hemlock that had deteriorated over the years.

Besides structural issues, the air quality was poor and the building did not meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

It was determined that renovating the Dean Building would have been cost prohibitive, Mrs. French said.

“We looked for a way to offer a safe, clean facility for our students as they receive a 21st-century education,” she said.

The Dean School had been used for some middle and high school classes before closing in September 2018 when the new middle school opened.

Prior to tearing down the building on July 19, crews removed the existing asbestos and received approval to move forward with demolition.

They salvaged stained glass windows, marble and historic pictures from the existing building.

The general contractor is Northern Tier Contractors, Gouverneur, which will construct the new building in a way that bridges it with two adjoining buildings, the Dolan building and the high school. That building will include a handicapped-accessible entrance and a new elevator.

The new building should be ready for students and staff in January, Mrs. French said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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