Coleman's History Preserved With Demolition

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Monday, December 20, 2010

The historic Coleman building is set to be torn down next month, but as the demolition begins crews will work to preserve its long and rich past.

Wednesday, county commissioners will vote on a demolition company to tear down the 109 year-old Coleman building. County leaders are recommending a company that has demolition experience and track record of preserving historic sites.

Coleman first opened its factory in Wichita in 1901, employing thousands over the years. Now the old building sits vacant at Second and St. Francis, with broken out windows and graffiti on the walls.

On site is dangerous contamination. For years Coleman has been working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to keep the contamination contained. In January, the building will come down to make way for a parking lot.

"We not only want to do a good job of building a parking lot there, but we also want to have it reflect the history of the Coleman Family and the Coleman Company," said Assistant County Manager, Ron Holt.

Demolition crews will work to salvage most of the 45,000 bricks on the building. The stone arches above the doorways and tresses inside the building are to be used again. The public may even get a shot at some of the bricks eventually.

County leaders are recommending Key Construction and Bradburn at a cost of $311,000 for the project. If commissioners approve the team, work will begin in January.

The county is working closely with Coleman and other community groups to maintain the importance and the heritage of the project. Details on that have not yet been released.

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