The City of Kewaunee retained Ayres to guide officials through the environmental assessment and demolition process for the former Marquette School building. The project site is a 2-acre lot that held the 71,000-square-foot Marquette School building. Original portions of the building were constructed in 1915 with additions in 1936, 1957, 1959, and 1964. The school closed in the late 1990s, and the property was sold to a private development firm. The property changed hands several times before the city started its acquisition by administrative tax foreclosure.
Years of vacancy and unsuccessful salvage operations by previous owners left the building in disrepair. Portions of the roof collapsed, causing water damage and making several areas unsafe and structurally unsound.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessed the property in 2015 and found hazardous substances in abandoned containers, ash piles, and deteriorating building materials, including arsenic, asbestos, lead, mercury, and PCBs. Between 2016 and 2017 the EPA used funding from the Superfund Program to removed hazardous substances that were an immediate threat to public health and the environment.
In 2017, Ayres completed a Phase 1 environmental site assessment (ESA) and asbestos assessment that found regulated asbestos materials, unidentified substances, and lead-based and PCB-containing paints that needed to be removed before (or appropriately managed during) demolition. Ayres prepared demolition specifications that addressed these issues and allowed for future redevelopment. Demolition of the building occurred in the late summer and fall of 2018, with Ayres assisting with quality assurance, contract administration, and community relations.
The project was to be funded in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Site Assessment Grant Program (SAG).