Workers tore down the framework that held up the suspended ceiling in the basement of the former Waterville Baptist Church building on Dalton Pike while another salvage operation was going on in the sanctuary.
The demolition process is part of a highway construction project and the condemned properties become the responsibility of the contractor. Highways Inc. subcontracted Mike Hodnett to demolish the old sanctuary along with 10 other structures along the Dalton Pike widening project roughly between Waterville Community Elementary School and McGrady Drive.
Hodnett said he is leery of waiting too long to complete the work because every piece of copper was stolen from the houses in the area before he could get to them. He salvages the metal at his scrapyard at 1050 Inman St. East. Hodnett said some of the items were given to a small church attended by one of his employees.
“We salvage anything anyone can use,” Hodnett said Wednesday. “We try to keep as much out of the landfill as possible.”
Hodnett has about 30 days to complete the salvage operation before he demolishes the entire structure.
The original highway construction project did not include Waterville Baptist. However, a sinkhole developed on the southern edge of the church parking lot. The sinkhole, as it turned out, was the septic tank everyone believed was located under the parking lot 75 yards closer to the sanctuary.
Until that point, the Tennessee Department of Transportation was only taking a portion of church property to widen Dalton Pike. The church built its new facilities on a site about a mile south on Dalton Pike, where the first service was held July 7.