Ka-Clang! Ka-Clang! Ka-Clang!
Residents in and around Charleston’s Ansonborough neighborhood should get use to that sound in the coming month as contractors prepare to pound some 400 pilings into the earth to make the new Buist Academy more earthquake-proof.
The contractor driving the piles recently notified the city that a tight schedule on the project means the work must run six days a week, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., for a month’s time.
Chad Reynolds, project superintendent for H.G. Reynolds Co., didn’t try to sugar-coat the noise in a Jan. 26 letter to Dan Riccio, the city’s Director of Livability. Residents who leave their homes to go to work during the day will be “the lucky ones,” he said, indicating that folks in Harleston Village, Radcliffeborough and other surrounding areas will be well aware of the thudding strikes.
“Pile driving is not a quiet thing,” Reynolds wrote. “Especially when there are two of them driving piles at the same time.”
Buist Academy is one of five Charleston County schools with seismic deficiencies. It is undergoing repairs and renovations to make it better able to withstand an earthquake. The school’s students, teachers and staff have been temporarily moved to the former Wando High School campus in Mount Pleasant until the project is completed.
Stephen Hanson, president of the Historic Ansonborough Neighborhood Association, notified fellow residents this week that the pile-driving likely will begin around March 1. He stated that the project’s engineer told him the initial plan called for auger cast piles, but soil conditions left no choice but to use the hammer.
Hanson said the neighborhood can’t do much about it at this point but “buy ear plugs and hope the work goes more quickly than the projected 26 days.”
In his letter to Riccio, Reynolds offered his apologies in advance for the coming noise but advised folks to keep in mind that “one month is NOT that long.”
“Again, I hope everyone can forgive me and my guys for the unpleasantness that we are about to create, and I would like everyone to know that I will be here all day everyday (except Sundays thankfully!!) in this little white trailer on Anson Street if they would like to stop by and bang pots and pans in my ears and tell me how much they ‘appreciate’ what I am doing,” he stated. “I promise it will all be over soon!!”