NEW ORLEANS – In order to make way for the development of the state-of-the-art University Medical Center, the state of Louisiana this morning began moving the historic McDonogh No. 11 School from its present location at South Prieur and Palmyra Streets.
The State of Louisiana Office of Facility Planning and Control began moving the McDonogh No.11 School to a temporary location at the edge of the UMC Hospital site at Banks Street between Glavez and South Johnson.
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater said: “This is another important step toward building a world-class academic medical center to service the needs of the people of New Orleans and the region. But it also shows how state and city leaders can work together with a strong commitment to historical preservation. So at the same time that we are creating something new and building for the future, we are also preserving and honoring an important part of the city’s past.”
The 16,000 square-foot, two-story, 3 million-pound (1,500-ton) McDonogh No. 11 School is being lifted and moved by Orleans Shoring, which responded to an open bid process by the state. Moving the 80-foot by 120-foot school is expected to take two days.
In March, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the New Orleans City Council publicly stated support for preserving McDonogh No. 11. The State approached the Council and City Administration with the idea of relocating the school to a site provided by the City.
In preparation for the move, Gurtler Brothers Consultants, Inc. conducted a comprehensive structural analysis and review of termite damage to the historic structure and found the building to be in serviceable condition. The review also suggested that any remediation required will be done when the building is moved to its permanent site.
McDonogh No. 11 School was designed by New Orleans architect William A. Freret. Construction was completed in 1879. McDonogh was the first and only public school established in its neighborhood. It featured 16 classrooms and a 647-student capacity. Since completion in 1879 the building continued to be used much as it was from its inception. The school still retains much of its original architecture.
The relocation of McDonogh No. 11 by Orleans Shoring will showcase the largest structure ever moved in the state of Louisiana and one of the top-ten heaviest structures ever moved in the nation.
Christian Cancienne, CEO and President of Orleans Shoring said: “We are very proud to have been selected for this critical elevation and move. To date, we have compiled over 5,000 man hours to plan and execute this move. The building will be moved about three football fields away from its current location. We have over 200 tons of steel underneath the structure to support it for the move over unstable soil conditions. This is a very intense challenge. We recognize the importance of this facility to our city’s history, and we are meticulously proceeding with our detailed, professional strategy to move this major structure.”
A series of interlocking, one-foot thick, wooden mats will create a roadway for the building to be moved by a row of electronic dollies that will be driven by remote control. The move will take two days to complete. The structure, which sits at the corner of Prieur Street and Palmyra Street, had undergone renovation and restoration before and after Hurricane Katrina. The building will be moved to a temporary staging area and shored up to endure weather conditions. Orleans Shoring will eventually move it to a permanent location.
In September 2010, Orleans Shoring accepted the task of moving 80 historic homes through the inner city of New Orleans. The structures were selected because of their value to the city’s history and culture, located in one of the oldest parts of New Orleans, Mid-City, but also on the sites of the new UMC/VA Medical Centers. Orleans Shoring completed the massive project within 10 weeks.