Jacksonville State University recently razed two McClellan buildings once used for chemical weapons research and by the military police.
Only large piles of rubble remain where the two buildings once stood between the JSU McClellan Center and the city of Anniston’s soccer fields along Summerall Gate Road. The buildings, which JSU has owned since the fort closed in 1999, were unused for years and had become safety hazards in need of demolition, said JSU President John Beehler.
Crews started demolishing the buildings more than a week ago. On Monday, workers used heavy construction equipment to push the debris into smaller piles.
“We own some buildings over there and we were working with the city to make sure there was no danger … we thought the best thing to do was demolish them,” Beehler said. “They did not really have any potential use.”
Robin Scott, executive director of the McClellan Development Authority, tasked with developing the former fort, said the buildings once had multiple uses when the fort was open.
“One was used as barracks and as a mess hall and one was used for biological and chemical weapons research,” Scott said. “In later years, one of the buildings was used by the military police school for barracks and weapons development.”
Scott said the building debris would soon be hauled to McClellan’s landfill.
Beehler said there were no definite plans yet to use the land once the debris is gone.
“But the land will be free for other things,” he said. “There’s been talk about making an extra parking lot.”
Scott said the property wasn’t currently part of any MDA master development plans for McClellan because the land belonged to the university.
The property sits close to mountain biking trails planned by the MDA.
The MDA board allocated $200,000 last year for a 6-mile, National Interscholastic Cycling Association-certified mountain biking course by the soccer fields. The board also last year agreed to pay another $200,000 for a 6-mile course on a thousand acres west of the eastern bypass portion of U.S. 431.