Old SISD Building on King escapes destruction

The old Sherman Independent School District Administration Building on King Street seems to have dodged a bullet. County commissioners Tuesday decided to reject all bids to abate the asbestos in the building and those to tear it down.

The reprieve might only be temporary though as no one on the Court discussed saving the building for the long-term. They just commented on the high cost of tearing down the building that took its spot on King Street in 1929.

The low bid for tearing down the building on King Street came it at $153,800. But before anyone could sling a hammer in the place, the county would have to pay to have the asbestos abated. That project came in, on the lowest bid the county received, at $224,500.

Back when the county accepted the building from SISD, Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum said he thought the county might be able to renovate the building to use as office space for as low as $78 a square foot. He compared that to having to build a new building at $100 a square foot.

However, the county found that there was much more asbestos and lead paint in the nearly 56,000 square foot building than county officials knew. Removing those toxic substances made renovating the building, Bynum has said previously, cost prohibitive.

Tuesday, he and others decided that tearing the building down is also cost prohibitive.

When Grayson County Purchasing Agent Jeff Schneider tallied up the cost to abate the asbestos in the King Street building and tear it down, Commissioner David Whitlock said he couldn’t go that high.

“I think its too much. I think we ought to reject all of the bids,” Whitlock said. “And leave it alone,” he added.

No one voted against his motion and it passed.

The building on Cherry Street formerly owned by the North Texas Youth Connection might not get as lucky. Commissioners heard that it would cost $8,804 to abate the asbestos in that building. Schneider didn’t give commissioners low bid prices to tear it down though. He said when the people who had bid the project heard that they might be considered to do just the Cherry Street building without the King Street building, they started pulling their bids.

Bynum said it looked to him like the county might be able to get the building abated and torn down for under the $50,000 level. That is the level at which the county is required to go out for sealed competitive bids on a project. Schneider said he can just go out into the community and collect bids for the Cherry Street building and the county can go with the lowest bid he receives.