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Company approved for demolition of Barker House, Antioch Road properties
Bid also OK’d for asbestos testing
Barker House
The Barker House, above, was bought by the county in 2003 but has since fallen into disrepair. - photo by FCN file photo

We now know who will take down one of the Forsyth County’s most iconic structures.

At a work session on Tuesday, the Board of Commissioners voted 4-0, with the District 2 seat vacant, to approve bids for the demolition of the Barker House and properties on Antioch Road. Hibernia Enterprises Inc., will handle asbestos abatement for $21,790, and Newman Smith Contracting LLC was awarded $75,560 to tear the vacant house down.

“This is for the demolition of some various buildings we have. There are three on Antioch Road and one on Barker Road,” Procurement Director Donna Kukarola said.

Kukarola said an asbestos test will be needed for the demolition.

“It is still a requirement no matter when the date is, because they could use the materials after that date for certain areas if they had it on their shelf,” she said. “A lot of the hotspots that we get are from the mastic behind bathroom mirrors. It can be in the joint compound. It can be in the ceilings.”

Funds from the county’s general fund contingency will be transferred for the work on the Barker House, which will cost a total of about $63,000.

Commissioners decided in March to proceed with the demolition after giving the family of late-architect Jim Barker six months to find an alternative. The house sits atop Sawnee Mountain and is known for its rounded “spaceship” appearance.

Prior to that, commissioners approved the demolition before deciding to give the family the six months after outcry from family members and the public.

The county purchased the house and the property surrounding it for $1.8 million in 2003, which was before any commissioners who voted on the demolition began their terms.

The house has fallen into disrepair and been plagued with vandalism and trespassers in recent years.

From the beginning of 2015 to Aug. 26, 2016, local emergency personnel responded to 83 emergency and non-emergency calls at the property.

The property is expected to be used by the county’s parks department, and a pavilion with the house’s iconic shape has been considered.

Several studies have been done over the years to attempt to find a suitable use for the property, of which none were found to be plausible without significant and costly work being done.

A study done by Georgia Tech in 2004 found the property would need an additional lobby and tower for an elevator to meet American Disability Act standards.

A timeline for the demolition has not yet been determined.