, Salem, MA

Local News

September 19, 2013

Library demolition goes on and on ...

SALEM — A case could be made that the demolition of the old library at Salem State University has gone on forever.

Borings and other pre-demolition tests began soon after the library closed in 2007, when it was deemed structurally unsound.

A rear section of the building came down several years ago to make way for the new Frederick E. Berry Library and Learning Commons, which opened this month.

A white, Christo-like tarp went over the remaining section of the library last spring, when demolition began in earnest on a building that had been adorned in scaffolding for years.

This final phase of the demolition, which started around May, is still going on and isn’t scheduled to be done until December.

Despite the truck traffic, noise, dust and other by-products of demolition, there have been relatively few complaints about this project, according to city officials and a neighborhood group.

Until this past weekend.

The noise of jackhammers and street congestion finally got to residents, several of whom lodged complaints with the city. While the mayor’s office said it heard from only one person, the building inspector and a city councilor said they have received several calls in recent days.

Building Inspector Tom St. Pierre said he contacted a state inspector yesterday to forward the dust complaints and reports of jackhammering on Saturday, which would violate a city ordinance. He pointed out, however, that this is a state project under state regulations and oversight.

One resident said that while Saturday was the worst, problems have been ongoing.

“The noise and dust are constant problems,” said Phil Moran, an attorney who lives across the street. “We actually have cracks in our walls.”

Saturday’s intensive demolition work was an “anomaly,” according to Karen Cady, a spokeswoman for Salem State.

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