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Vandalism incident reported in former Central Middle School building

ANDREA GRUBAUGH

Earlier this week, a minor case of vandalism was reported on the grounds of the former Central Middle School.

Chris Nienhaus, superintendent of the Muscatine Community School District, said it was discovered that someone – probably over Memorial Day weekend – took a brick from the small pile that had been placed outside the school and threw it into the window above the pile.

The broken window leading to the women’s restroom in the auditorium foyer has since been boarded up and the district has reported this incident to the Muscatine Police Department.

Nienhaus pointed out that this was not the first incident at the former middle school since it closed and that there had been other cases in which people had tried to break into the building. The intruders were caught shortly afterwards.

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“It’s a persistent problem,” he said.

Because the building is empty, it is likely an easier target for vandalism, he said.

Nienhaus assured that police have conducted additional patrols around the Central Middle School grounds to prevent further vandalism and trespassing.

As long as partial demolition continues and bricks from the building are available, workers will continue to leave a small collection of bricks near the site for residents to take if they wish to keep part of the former middle school, he said.

“We had a lot of requests from the public wanting bricks from Central,” Nienhaus said. “People who used to go to school (at Central) asked several times if they could have bricks from the building, so we decided to just put some out there – and if people want some, they can come get them. I think the first batch went quickly, so we’re going to try to put some more out there.”

Currently, only the 9th Street portion of the building remains. Demolition is expected to be completed in the next week or two, followed by a short cleanup period before construction of the new parking lot begins, in addition to any work that needs to be done on the remaining auditorium/gymnasium portion of the building.