Progress continues at Teppers building

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Termites had found a place to live in the old Teppers building, but their time has run out.

During a volunteer workday Dec. 15, which lasted from 7 a.m. until noon, nearly 50 Freedom Foundation volunteers turned out to finish removing rotten wood flooring in the basement of the Teppers building on Broad Street to prepare it for an extermination treatment.

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Matt Wynalda, Freedom Foundation volunteer who heads most workdays, said the better part of the floor had rotted away. Plans were to leave the basement undisturbed, but removal of the wooden parts of the flooring was urgent, due to extent of the termite problem.

According to the Web site of Heimer Engineering, an engineering and building inspection firm, not being

used by the foundation, a mid-sized termite colony of 60,000 termites can consume a foot of two-by-four wood in four months.

Termite infested wood eventually becomes hollowed and brittle.

A structural survey is underway to determine the stability of the building before renovations go forward. Shawn Samuelson, spokeswoman for the Freedom Foundation, said there are several structural issues that have to be addressed with the building. Demolition on the first three floors is on track to be complete by the end of January.

Volunteers ripped up the wooden flooring using shovels, and rakes, then carted the pieces to the trash.

Wynalda said volunteers also stripped the walls of plaster, and now the focus will return to removing plaster on the first and second floors of the building.

At lunchtime on the workday, volunteers were given a surprise treat of homemade sack lunches &8212; many prepared by the volunteers&8217; children.

According to a release issued by the Freedom Foundation, cleanup of the building&8217;s interior has progressed at a slow, but steady pace. Volunteers, as opposed to hired contractors, are doing the work on evenings and weekends.

Tentatively, the building will be approaching completion by the end of the year.