The bid for reconstruction was awarded to Leonard Brothers Construction of Chatsworth.
The exterior walls were reinforced, and cleanup on the debris began in March 2010. It took about two weeks for the charred rubble to be removed with help from Chatsworth and Murray County governments. Even some of the dirt was removed from the site to prevent the building from smelling of smoke later, said Danny Dunn, the school system’s director of personnel and facilities and a 1980 graduate of Murray County High School.
By Sept. 1, 2010, the floor had been poured and work to repair the walls begun. The roof was completed in September.
The exterior rock walls were reused.
“The outside was sandblasted to remove all the soot,” Dunn said. “Whoever did it, a subcontractor for Leonard Brothers, did a fantastic job. The inside walls were also sandblasted, but then they were painted with sealant to keep the building from smelling like smoke. Since the walls were porous, we had to make sure we didn’t have to deal with a smoke smell it if ever tried to escape.”
Parts of the rock walls had fallen in during the fire, but they were rebuilt using rocks from other parts of the building. Several rock pylons that had been supporting the floor were used to rebuild a portion of the wall. Also, the original chimney was shortened by 15 feet and rocks from that were used, Dunn said.
The interior walls and windows were installed in November and December 2010.
Some of the partial basement had to be closed in because otherwise water would have ponded under the building, Dunn said. The rest of the basement was left open and is used for storage.
Painting started in February 2011. By April 2011, only finishing touches were left. Central office personnel moved from their location on Chestnut Street to the Rock Building.
“We tried to stay as historically accurate as possible,” Dunn said. “We did it to keep it as original as possible because that’s the way we wanted it. The roof lines, angles and pitches are all the same.”