Coe Building renovation

Historic building gutted, new interior starts to take shape

GRIFFIN Construction worker cuts boards for framing in the new board meeting room, distinguished by arch windows.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea
GRIFFIN Construction worker cuts boards for framing in the new board meeting room, distinguished by arch windows.

In March, crews from Griffin Construction took out “a dozen dump truck loads” from the historic Coe Building — asbestos, flooring, ceiling tiles, and old pipes, among other near-century-old building material — as renovation of the Hood River County School District building continues on Eugene Street.

Now, the revitalized Coe is starting to take shape.


OLD MATERIAL piled up in front of Coe in early March.

“We’re making great strides, with wall framing beginning and electrical and plumbing and heating and ventilation going in,” said Dale Kuykendall of Wenaha Group, which is overseeing the Coe facility and all other projects in the three-year district construction bond process (see A11).

Much of what was removed had to go for health and safety reasons, while other material was taken out because of design changes.

“As we got into it, we have found this to be a really solidly-constructed building,” Kuykendall said.

Workers made a happy discovery in the demolition process: a concrete footing they had not known was there. Tests showed the footing ran the length of the building, which will enable new extension walls called “stringers” to be added to the footer, eliminating the cost of a new footer.

Coe’s upper floor will house the superintendent’s office and other district offices, including a new and larger board meeting room. Interior hallways have been revised.

The most visible change with the building will be the west entrance, where a fully ADA-compliant entry way replaces the front entrance and foyer. Removal of the old entry canopy has revealed the brick work long covered by stucco.

Currently in place are temporary shoring walls to support ceilings and other upper load weights while old load-bearing walls are removed and replaced. Much of the old ductwork will be kept in place and covered by ceiling panels, as there was no need to remove it, according to Kuykendall.

The Coe building, a former school, in the past housed classrooms, computer labs, and the high school alternative school at different times, along with the district technology office, Community Education, and other support services.

Coe is on schedule for completion in late July. Griffin will then switch to the neighboring building, formerly known as “the district office building,” which will become the high school alternative school and other offices. It is scheduled to be finished in October.

The vestibule will be removed from the west end of the building, and a new covered bike parking canopy will be added. The student mural led by artist Janet Essley more than 10 years ago, will be removed.

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