EL PASO — After many challenges, the City of El Paso is starting work to tear down the Insights Museum and city hall. The land will be used to build a Triple-A Ballpark, which is expected to be ready in Spring 2014.
The Insights Museum has been teaching El Paso children about math and science for more than 30 years. The building has been its home for 20 years.
On Monday, crews started to prepare for its demolition, starting in exactly a week. Crews were putting a fence around the museum, staging their equipment and starting traffic control.
Crews have closed lanes on Durango Street, Missouri Avenue and Santa Fe Street. They will remain closed for the next several months.
"I think that it will take a little more time to navigate downtown. I think traffic is already bad enough and with the addition of a baseball stadium with all the construction going on and then afterwards the games, I think traffic is just going to get worse," said Edward Cole.
"I won't be able to see that much. I'm walking downtown everyday so it will be hard," said Ryan Bruce.
The plates on the streets and the holes in the ground were part of work to move utilities and build utility poles.
The demolition of the Insights Museum will not be an implosion. Crews will tear down the building piece by piece with construction equipment.
It will be complete by the middle of March.
"It's sad to see the facility go absolutely but insights is a private nonprofit and we plan to continue to serve the city of El Paso, the citizens of El Paso," said Dr. Aaron Velasco, chairman of the Insights Museum board of directors.
Once the demolition of the Insights Museum is complete, city hall will be torn down.
The city cannot give an exact date of when that will happen, but said it will be in early April and has to be complete by April 15.
The ballpark project engineer Alan Shubert said people need to use caution in the area during the next few months.
"It’s always better to avoid an area that's under construction but it's not gonna be too bad for Insights. You're still going to access city hall. They are just going to quarantine the area around the museum itself. Obviously, as we get closer to a date to take city hall down, it will become less and less convenient for people to access this building," said Shubert.
The contractor will recycle the metal and some of the concrete from the Insights Museum. The rest will go to the El Paso landfill.
The city said the total cost of tearing down both buildings is $1.5 million.