The Holy Trinity Parochial School in Greenfield, MA, has had its day in the sun. Built in 1929 by General Contractor George Reed of Greenfield, the school opened in 1930. Armando Bresciano, now 97, was one of the first students to enroll. Mr. Bresciano’s mind is sharp, despite his years, and he recalled many details of the school. He was even able to spell all the names, only having trouble with his uncle’s last name.
“I finished four years of grammar school there, and graduated in 1934. My uncle, Pasqualli Mascatini was a mason contractor, and he laid up the bricks,” Bresciano said. “He did all the masonry, put up the whole building” [apparently as masonry subcontractor to General Contractor George Reed who finished the interior and roof.]
“It was run by the Sisters of St Joseph,” he recalled. “Mother Superior Mary Justinian ran the school. The sisters worked there a long time. Sister Agnes Angela worked there for 60 years. It’s a shame they tore the school down.”
Today, Associated Building Wreckers of Springfield, MA is demolishing the school. There were several reasons that led to its demolition. “It was a case of prohibitive costs, lack of enrollment and a dwindling number of parishioners,” pastor Fr. Timothy Campoli, said. “The number of Sisters, who had taught for only a stipend, had also dwindled. That required the school to hire full-time teachers and pay them salaries. All this made costs rise. There were other things like the antiquated heating system that was not zoned, so that the entire school had to be heated when only a portion needed heat,” he added.
Eventually the Diocese took over the school and determined that keeping it open was not feasible. When Saint Ann’s Church in Turners Falls closed their school, students enrolled in Holy Trinity School. For a time Holy Trinity School was very popular since it offered a quality education at a reasonable tuition.
“The student population was not entirely Catholic,” Fr. Campoli said. “Anyone could attend the school even if not Catholic, but they needed to embrace Catholic dogma and participate in religious ceremonies, though they could not receive the sacraments unless they converted to Catholicism. Other religions may be similar, but the Catholic Church is the only one founded by Jesus Christ,” he noted.
With landfills becoming increasingly scarce, Associated Building Wreckers are recycling 93% to 95% of the demo rubble. “The remaining 5-7% of material, not suitable for recycling is sheetrock, carpet padding and mixed material not easily separated,” Steve Hill, Project Manager for Associated Building Wreckers, said.
“The biggest problem on this job is the wood wainscoting and the mud,” job supervisor Bill Babcock noted, as their truck driver made several passes through the mud in order to get the Kenworth tractor and the KRUZ trailer into position for loading.
“We’ve got a crew of four laborers separating out the wood, scrap metal and wiring,” Babcock added. “There’s a place in Holyoke (MA) that takes the bricks for use for fill. We saved out a few bricks that people want for souvenirs but it’s too labor intensive to sort them all out. The scrap metal goes to WTE metal recyclers in East Greenfield. Sorted wood is converted to fiber material at a plant in Holyoke for capping landfills, or it goes to a plant for making wood pellets.”
According to Hill, “People wanted the building to be saved. It needed too much work. It was heated by two steam boilers and the roof needed replacing.”
As the work progressed, Jamie Bryson operated a 330 Cat excavator equipped with an excavation bucket to unearth the concrete foundations in preparation for crushing. A 966G Cat loader was also used to grade work platforms and to move the material in place for the Metso portable crusher once the concrete foundation was exposed. Once exposed, an operator used a 7500 ft lb NPK breaker to reduce it into usable chunks. Broken concrete and silty soil was loaded into the Metso crusher hopper with the 345B Cat Excavator to make “good dirt” that drains and compacts well. Two laborers stationed at the Metso crusher’s infeed hopper, watched closely to remove re-bar and other metal that could damage the crusher and/or conveyor belts. Meanwhile, Bill Babcock filled the company’s 80 cubic yard KRUZ trailer with a grapple-equipped 345 Cat excavator.
The concrete foundation and granite are slated for crushing as compacted base, to fill the cellar holes. The site is due to become a parking lot to serve the construction operation, and then as general parking. Additional fill material will have to be brought in and compacted in preparation for the Baystate Franklin Hospital addition and parking lot, which is also under construction. An additional portion of the cleared area is being considered as a future building site for Baystate Medical offices.