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House Deconstructed to Make Way for Library Addition

Photo Credit: Michele Skalicky

A 1300 square foot ranch style house just east of the Brentwood Branch Library is going down sort of like it went up—one piece at a time.  On this day, workers were busy tearing out the interior walls in the living room…

(Sound of walls being torn down)

The Springfield-Greene County Library contacted Habitat for Humanity of Springfield after it was decided that the house would need to go to make way for an addition to the library.  The library thought Habitat might be able to move the house.  But Chris Houghton, operations director for Habitat, says they decided it wasn’t feasible to do so.  So, they partnered with the Ozarks Green Building Coalition to deconstruct the house and recycle and reuse the materials.

Deconstruction began three weeks ago.  Houghton says the project is unique in that the entire house is being salvaged…

"We normally won't take a house down to the foundation or structure.  We'll go in and salvage everything we can, you know, cabinets and appliances and lighting fixtures and plumbing fixtures and stuff.  We salvage those items and they go back to the Habitat for Humanity Restore, get resold to the public, and that raised funds for the mission of Habitat, but it also keeps this stuff out of the local landfills," he said.

He says, since the library district and Ozarks Green Building are involved, they decided to take the house down to its foundation.

A garage sale of interior items like wood floors and a furnace a week after deconstruction began netted the coalition and Habitat $1600.  Things like lumber and windows will be sold at an upcoming sale.

Houghton says they’re trying to make sure as much of the house as possible is reused or recycled…

"I mean, we're trying to pull every nail and make sure every nail gets recycled and all the materials get recycled or up for sale for reuse," he said.

He says the process is saving the library money.  Demolition would have cost around $8000.  The cost now is about half that—for concrete removal and one dumpster.

Houghton says volunteers are needed to help take down the rest of the house.  For more information, call Habitat for Humanity at 829-4001.

For KSMU News, I’m Michele Skalicky.