The first of the College of the Redwoods original buildings to be demolished will come down on September 23rd. Although the college regrets having to tear it down, there is a silver lining in the form of the rare, old growth redwood lumber the builders used when it was originally constructed back in 1967.
Construction Technology professor Derek Glavich recognized the value in the old lumber while doing a walkthrough of the condemned building about a year ago. He was amazed by the quantity and quality of the boards that lined every wall and ceiling, as well as the structural beams throughout the main room of the building.
Glavich got in touch with President Flamer and, with the help of CR’s new Director of Facilities and Planning, Steve McKenzie, got permission from the contractor the college hired to do the demo to salvage the lumber and any other materials they could find in the building. Since getting the “OK”, Glavich, along with his Construction Tech colleagues Bert Hafar and Leonard Bechler, has worked at night and in-between classes to save as much of the pristine redwood as possible.
Glavich says. “I’m really grateful to Steve McKenzie and Dr. Flamer for their help in making this happen. This is a rare opportunity for our students to work with such a beautiful and uncommon material. You can find old growth redwood at lumberyards around Humboldt County, but it’s very expensive and most of it is salvaged from old stumps they pull out of the ground and, at most, it’s 7 feet long.”
The boards they’re recovering from the library are a wide range of shapes and sizes and they’ll use them for a number of student projects, including siding the first ever CR tiny house. They’ll also run it through the Architectural Millworks class to use as molding and trim on next year’s student-built house, which will be constructed in an historic neighborhood in Eureka. Using this old growth redwood will tie the new house in with the aesthetic of the neighborhood and maintain its historic integrity.
CR is delighted that they were able to hold on to this piece of history and to pay it forward by providing future students the opportunity to work with the same materials used in the very first buildings on the CR campus. Salvaging the redwood also supports the mission of sustainability that is central to many of the programs at CR.