The Winneshiek County Recycling Department’s skid loader pulled out the Clayton County Recycling truck full of scrap metal after the truck sank into the soft ground at the north building. The materials were taken to Clayton County’s metal shredder. (Submitted photo)
The Winneshiek County Recycling Department’s skid loader pulled out the Clayton County Recycling truck full of scrap metal after the truck sank into the soft ground at the north building. The materials were taken to Clayton County’s metal shredder. (Submitted photo)

The deconstruction of the county's "north building" has been a recycling success story, according to Winneshiek County Recycling Director Terry Buenzow.

Tons of materials from the structure were salvaged when the building was taken down recently. Constructed in the 1860s, the north building was attached to the Wellington Place care facility in Freeport. Last summer, Wellington Place officials requested the county remove it for various health-related and economic concerns. Because the care facility's sprinkler system was tied to the north building, Wellington Place had been spending about $12,434 annually to heat the unoccupied structure.

The Winneshiek County Recycling Department coordinated with the demolition crew from Skyline Construction of Decorah to save everything that has a "viable market," Buenzow said.

"What a good bunch to work with," Buenzow said of the Skyline workers. "They understood and appreciated what we were recycling. They were with us."

When the deconstruction project started, Buenzow said workers were surprised at the condition of the structure.

"Once we got deep into that building we all realized that it was in far worse condition than anyone had known," Buenzow said. "We put a lot of extra effort into that building so that nothing that was practical (to save) went to waste. We sent her (the north building) out with dignity and respect."



Materials saved

The following materials were salvaged from the north building:

• 32,500 pounds of scrap metal

• 445 pounds of copper wire

• 360 pounds of copper pipe

• 100 pounds of aluminum

• 50 pounds of stainless steel

• 20 pounds of brass

• 100 pounds of plastic

• 2,500 pounds of white ledger paper

• 4,500 pounds of colored office paper

• 500 pounds of cardboard

• 1,570 pounds of textiles/fabrics



Nearly 100

Buenzow was happy with the amount of materials that could be saved from the north building.

"Very little of these materials escaped us. It was as close to 100 percent retrieval as can be practically done," he commented.

"Some of the nicer pieces of large-diameter pipe were saved to use as bollards (posts) with the drop-off building and north side storage expansion projects at the recycling plant. A number of other items such as the rose window and some of the unusual wood racks from the basement were put in storage. Several fixtures and racks were removed and are now in use at other county facilities. The demolition crew from Skyline was a pleasure to work with."