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City releases timeline for Center Wheeling Garage demo

Photo by Eric Ayres Dismantling of the Center Wheeling Parking Garage is scheduled to begin March 4. While WVU Medicine continues demolition of the buildings on the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus, the city of Wheeling will tear down the parking structure and the skywalk over Chapline Street, which is expected to remain closed north of 22nd Street for about 11 months.

WHEELING — A portion of Chapline Street in Center Wheeling is scheduled to be closed for 11 months, according to city officials, who on Monday released a projected timeline for the dismantling of the Center Wheeling Parking Garage.

The work will begin Monday, and Chapline Street from 20th to 22nd streets will remain closed through the remainder of this year. Motorists will still be able to access the Wheeling Police Department Headquarters and the parking lots of Dr. Ganzer’s office on the north end of this section of Chapline Street throughout the project.

Last November, Wheeling City Council awarded a $1,638,000 contract to Reclaim Company LLC of Fairmont, West Virginia, to remove the parking structure that for decades served the former Ohio Valley Medical Center. Demolition of the remaining buildings on the former OVMC campus has been taking place. WVU Medicine awarded a $6.8 million demolition contract last summer to F.R. Beinke Wrecking Inc. of New Jersey.

Demolition at the OVMC site began in November and is expected to take around 14 months to complete. Once cleared, WVU Medicine is planning to construct a state-of-the-art regional cancer center on the site.

“The timelines for our project versus the WVU Medicine project mesh very well,” Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron said of the two neighboring demolition projects in Center Wheeling. “There have been coordination discussions between the city and WVU Wheeling Hospital for the past several months.”

Officials from the Wheeling Fire Department had been housed in the lower level of the Center Wheeling Parking Garage, where its headquarters had been located since 1978. Fire Chief Jim Blazier and other fire officials had to temporarily relocate to the former police headquarters space in the City-County Building, while some of the larger fire trucks and other personnel had to temporarily be moved to the North Wheeling and Wheeling Island fire stations so dismantling of the parking garage could begin.

All fire department personnel and equipment housed in the former headquarters in Center Wheeling will relocate to the new $9 million Fire Department Headquarters being built in East Wheeling along 17th Street once it is completed and ready for occupancy.

City leaders noted that the skywalk between the Center Wheeling Parking Garage and the OVMC West Tower will be taken apart piece-by-piece as part of the city’s garage dismantling project. The dismantling of the enclosed walking bridge over Chapline Street will begin March 25, according to the demolition schedule.

This is technically the first phase of the actual demolition, according to the schedule, which shows site preparation, mobilization of equipment and asbestos abatement taking place during the first three weeks before crews begin dismantling the bridge.

Work will then move to the side of the garage that is adjacent to the new Wheeling Police Department Headquarters in mid-May of this year and continue until mid-September. Work to remove the side of the garage closest to the Centre Wheeling Fellowship Church will begin in August and will continue through the end of the year.

Dismantling of the parking structure along the Market Street side will not begin until January of next year, according to the projected demolition schedule. Parking in this area will be relocated for two two-week periods around that time. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Market Street at all times during this phase of the job through mid-February of 2025.

During the final phase of the demolition, the center area of the parking structure will be removed from Feb. 17 to March 28 of next year.

As part of this project, the contract will be dismantling the concrete slabs and taking apart the garage as opposed to a traditional demolition. Slabs will be taken to the city owned property on 19th Street and crushed to be reused as fill material at this site. Nearly 10,000 cubic yards of crushed concrete from the parking garage will be used to elevate the 19th Street property out of the floodplain near Wheeling Creek. The city is expected to market the former industrial site for future commercial development.

While material crushing is expected to take place throughout much of the garage dismantling project, removal of the remaining slabs at the site is scheduled to be complete by mid-April of next year. The entire project is expected to be completed before Memorial Day 2025.

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