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Old IJH Powerhouse demolished

August 4, 2009
John Speer, Editor
TOLEDO CHRONICLE -The 1923 “Powerhouse” brick building which housed the steam boiler plant and maintenance department for the Iowa Juvenile Home- State Training School for Girls started to come tumbling down last Thursday. Work continued on the demolition this week. Karen Connell, business manager for the IJH- Training School, said a previously completed energy study showed it was “not cost effective” to renovate the old brick building.

The boiler plant located there provided steam heat through pipes in underground tunnels throughout the campus.

Connell said the new geothermal system for heating and cooling the campus buildings came on line in October of last year. “There’s been a great savings in the natural gas bill as a result,” Connell said.

The maintenance department moved into a new steel building across the street southeast of the Powerhouse on South Church Street.

Plans call for the Powerhouse site to become green space with the area to be filled with black dirt Connell said.

The work is part of some $20 million in improvements being made at the Iowa Juvenile home-State Training school for Girls according to Connell. She said a major addition to the school which also includes medical and security units is set for completion this fall. Classroom remodeling in the existing school building, restroom renovations and roofing work have also been a portion of the major upgrades on the campus she said.

Workers for Con-Struct, Marshalltown, the firm tearing down the building said some material will go to an area private fill site and brick and related material was to be hauled to Manatt’s Sand and Gravel for recycling.

The Powerhouse building, built as noted in 1923, was apparently constructed after the Leander Clark College Campus in Toledo was acquired by the State of Iowa (1919-20) and was not part of the college operation as some suspected.

The Powerhouse operated on a 24-hour-a day basis for many years as noted, for example, in a May 24, 1972, issue of The Chronicle. A photo shows Tom Bryant, superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, with Milvoy Novak, Boiler plant superintendent, beside the huge boilers.

Article Photos

Workers begin the demoliton of the Powerhouse at the Iowa Juvenile Home/State Training School for Girls in Toledo.
Chronicle/John Speer



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