WTSB News has learned proper procedures were not followed in the demolition of the Field House at Smithfield Selma High School.
The building, which contained asbestos, was torn down last month. The issue surrounds the demolition of the school-owned building without a permit.
On Monday, Johnston County Building Inspections Director Dean Barbour confirmed his department received a complaint from Town of Smithfield Planning Director Paul Embler.
Barbour said after his office was contacted by Embler, he began investigating and learned no one, including the school system or the company that performed the building removal, obtained the necessary demolition permit from his office. It is a violation of state law to tear down a building without the required permits.
WTSB News spoke with Tracey Peedin Jones, Public Information Officer for Johnston County Schools on Monday. Jones said she was not aware of any permitting issues but would investigate.
On Tuesday, WTSB News spoke with Jones by telephone and she confirmed proper asbestos abatement paperwork was filed with the state and the asbestos removal was properly permitted. When asked specifically about the demolition permit from Johnston County she stated, “It has been taken care of.”
However, Barbour confirmed after our Tuesday telephone call with Jones no one had obtained the demolition permit from the County.
The SSS Field House made news in March 2016 following a WTSB News report about the conditions of the building.
Mark Lee, whose son is a member of the SSS varsity baseball team, showed pictures of mold and standing water in the building to members of the Smithfield Town Council. In response, Mayor Andy Moore sent a letter to the Board of Education demanding immediate action be taken.
Maintenance staff began soliciting bids for a new roof, electrical and plumbing but the work was put on hold. A community meeting was later held and in May the school board announced the building would be torn down.
“I would have thought anybody that is with the school system should do things the way they should,” Lee said Tuesday reacting to the building being torn down without the demolition permit. “It seems to me they should know that. Somebody should. Surely they would have done what they were suppose to have.”