Rock Island's Audubon School Needs Work Before Winter

September  27, 2013

The Rock Island School Board will have a tough decision to make before winter. This month, board members heard details about serious problems with the boiler at Audubon school. And Friday morning, district officials showed reporters exactly what those problems are. The building on 18th Avenue has been vacant for three-and-a-half years.

Building Supervisor, Gary Easton, says first, the large chimney and ductwork that carry exhaust to the roof must be replaced. Then parts of the boiler itself have been leaking water into the fire tube. "Inside, there are pipes called tubes. They get corroded, and about 30 tubes need to be replaced with brand new tubes."

Last winter, Easton and his employees kept Audubon's boiler running despite similar problems.

Superintendent Mike Oberhaus says at the time, Fareway still planned to buy the property. And the Rock Island School Board didn't want to spend extra money to repair the boiler.  Since the deal fell through, Oberhaus says the board hasn't found another buyer. Vandalism is a costly problem, too. Over the past year, people have tried to break in nine times, and officials keep finding broken windows. "And it's expensive to replace them. How much? $400 to 500 to replace a window," Oberhaus said.

The superintendent says after bids come in, the board will have three choices:

  1. Fix the boiler
  2. Shut it down and allow the interior to deteriorate.
  3. Or demolish the building.
The Rock Island Board of Education is currently set to make that decision on October 22nd.