Alumni looking for ways to save Northside clock tower

CORNING, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Time is ticking for Northside Blodgett's clock tower. The Northside High School Alumni Association is not taking no for an answer despite being told it can't be saved.

The group held a meeting on Monday afternoon where multiple ideas were proposed from fundraising to getting a second opinion on the structure's status. 

Arbor Housing and Development, the nonprofit that bought the property from the school, said demolition crews and engineers say the inside is so dry-rotted, the structure would crumble during removal, but Bob Crocker, the association's president, believes otherwise. 

"I do think something could have been done to remove it or try to remove it in one piece," Crocker said. "I hate to see a ball go and just smash it to get rid of it."

The group brainstormed ideas on Monday afternoon to figure out ways to keep it in one piece or to figure out a way to salvage at least the clock faces. Just forgetting about it was a suggestion too. 

The group is upset because they said they reached out to the school board for help on October 18 of last year with a letter and never received a response. Crocker read the letter at a school board meeting. 

"In the board's defense, they were waiting until this time until we had some definitive numbers and idea of what things would cost before responding," Superintendent of Schools Mike Ginalski said. 

The group says Ginalski attended one of their meetings a month prior claiming to save the clock tower and cover all expenses. At that point, the superintendent says, the design fee alone was $24,000. 

"What we said to the alumni is we would help within reason," Ginalski said. "Arbor, last week, indicated that the estimate they got to remove the tower was a minimum of $200,000."

That estimate was just to remove the tower with no guarantee of survival, but the alumni remain suspicious. What makes them skeptical is that the clock tower has held up the clock faces for years despite weighing 600 lbs each. The weight was a rough estimate that Arbor gave 18 News last week, but the school mentioned that the construction supervisor said it's six feet wide and 900 lbs a piece. 

Either way, Ginalski said he is interested in helping but that the school, Arbor, and the alumni must participate.


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