2 weeks to wait on decision about Old YMCA Building

Published 7:41 pm Thursday, December 3, 2009

SELMA — About two weeks will pass before anyone knows the status of the old YMCA building on Broad Street.

Joe Weatherford of Weatherford & Associates Inc. Structural Engineers in Montgomery and Danny Raines, a vice president for the engineering firm, took a tour of the building Thursday afternoon.

Weatherford & Associates were hired by the City of Selma to determine if the historical structure could be saved.

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Almost a month ago developer Tom Bolton told the Selma City Council the building is in such disrepair he is afraid it will fall into the street under the right conditions.

Bolton had asked the historical commission of the city to allow him to tear down the structure. At the time, Bolton had a letter from a structural engineer hired by Bolton, who said the building could not be saved.

The commission asked for an independent engineer to examine the building.

Weatherford, Raines and Bolton toured the structure Thursday afternoon. They picked through fallen plaster and other debris, careful not to fall through gaps in some of the flooring.

Weatherford and Raines took pictures. They will examine the photographs later.

“We’ll look and find out if there is some way … basically, it’s obvious to us — to anyone who looks at this — the whole inside is gone; the whole wood structure is gone,” said Weatherford. “The only thing salvageable would be the exterior brick walls, but the problem is if it would be feasible to take the inside out because once you take the inside out the brick walls will become unstable. You’ve got to make those brick walls stable while you take the inside out. Then, you’ve got to rebuild it and replace the walls, so it’s a very tedious process.”

The key also is the cost of completing the work described by Weatherford.

“It’s going to be very expensive,” he said. “We are just going to have to analyze it and see if we can come up with some way to do it.”