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Newport Harbor High tower torn down

Wrecking ball taken to 77-year-old structure

August 30, 2007|By Joseph Serna

With one swing and a resounding thud, Robins Hall’s bell tower at Newport Harbor High School was no more.

On Thursday morning, McCarthy Building Co. set to work tearing town the venerated bell tower, the 100-foot rise that ships once used as a navigation point, when it stood alone in the formerly flat Orange County landscape.

Though only about a half hour of repeated slams by a wrecking ball dropped the tower, its end came years earlier.

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In 2003, Robins Hall was closed because it was found structurally unsound to withstand earthquakes. Early plans to upgrade the tower were ultimately scrapped, and when Orange County voters approved Measure F in 2005, the district had its funding to knock down the 77-year-old building and construct a new one in its place.

Newport-Mesa Unified has contracted with LPA, Inc. for the architecture and expects to begin public bidding for the construction project by November, Deputy Superintendent Paul Reed said.

Reed said the district hopes to have the new building underway by the first of 2008 at the latest. It’s estimated it may take two years to build and cost about $35 million.

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