Funds secured to level old Gilbert Street school by summer

David Hurst, The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.
·2 min read

Apr. 13—The rest of a crumbling former Lower Yoder school is expected to be leveled this summer, officials said Tuesday.

Cambria County Redevelopment Authority Director Renee Daly said Act 152 demolition funds have been tentatively approved to bring down the dilapidated Lower Yoder Township structure as a "priority" action.

While a few steps remain, including the delivery of a formal DEP notice and a hazardous materials inspection, the one-time school should be out for bid to contractors by the summer months "and hopefully sooner," Daly said.

Officials with Lower Yoder Township have been working with the authority to acquire funds to level the site since September 2019. It's one of a long list of eyesores that was on the waiting list for funds, Daly said.

Until those ACT 152 funds became available, Lower Yoder's board said they didn't have the ability to act.

Township officials issued the statement after the front of the two-story building collapsed to the ground Sunday, taking windows and, apparently, part of its second floor with it.

The building has been an issue in the township for years, and vacant for much longer.

Lower Yoder Township acquired the Gilbert Street property in August 2019 from then-owner Nathaniel Myers for $200 after the roof and another section of the building caved in earlier that year.

The Cambria County Redevelopment Authority often works with municipalities to eliminate dangerous eyesores.

Daly said the hazardous materials study is a necessity for the commercial structure and will determine if any materials need to be abated prior to the demolition itself.

A third party group will test materials to see if anything, such as asbestos, is present.

Lower Yoder Township officials said they are also taking steps to crack down on other neglected properties in the township to prevent the Gilbert Street school's issues from repeating in other areas of the community.

"When residents abandoned their property and refuse responsibility, this becomes a problem that we are trying to ensure doesn't happen any longer in Lower Yoder Township," the board wrote.

"We are in the process of going after these abandon properties full force."