Pilger Clean Up: Historical Middle School Demolished

By: Melina MatthesMMatthes@kptm.comPILGER, NEBRASKA (kptm) - New demolition in the village of Pilger Friday morning created an emotional day for the community. The tiny town is now starting to rebuild and demolition crews began tearing down the Wisner-Pilger middle school. The historic building was badly damaged when 200 mph winds tore through the town. School officials said the majority of the roof was blown off. People living in the community said it was difficult watching demolition crews tear down the walls."It kind of feels like a funeral today, it feels like we're putting a very historical building to rest but we're also beginning new things," former student, Nick Kolar said."It's very sad because that's where I graduated from and this gentleman here was way ahead of me and graduated from there," Jim Duncan said while hugging a friend.People born and raised in Pilger spent the morning watching the middle school get torn down."I mean there's so many childhood memories there for all of us that grew up here in Pilger," former student, Lindsey Cadenhead said.Just last month the school was severely damaged after two tornadoes ripped through town. An EF-4 twister shattered windows, tore off the majority of the roof and left the brick building unstable."My house was hit first and then I was taken to the hospital and the next day walked through here. I couldn't even recognize where people lived and then to see the school houseit's sad, but we'll move on," Duncan said, who has been a resident of Pilger for more than 72 years.He said slowly but surely, the town is rebuilding and he's proud to see everyone in the community coming together."That's just Pilger in general. I mean we've always been that way so this is really no change, this is just another reason that we can all come together, but we really are the town too tough to die," Kolar said. Individual bricks from the school will be available at no cost to Pilger residents and former alumni who wish to have a keepsake. They'll be piled up on the northwest corner of the school lot. The Nebraska Emergency Management Agency said Pilger is in need of heavy equipment for cleanup and recovery. Items such as bobcats, dump trucks, and excavators are requested. If you can help or have questions, please call the help line at 402-468-8005.The Village of Pilger is also accepting bids to demolish the village clerk's office and firehall building. Bids will be accepted until noon on July 14th and must be turned in to the Village Clerk's office located in the Pilger Camping area. Any questions can be directed to the Village Clerk's office at 402-396-3563.The Village of Pilger is still trying to locate displaced residents. Any displaced resident of Pilger is asked to contact the Village Office with contact information at 402-396-3563.The Village of Pilger Planning Commission will meet bi-weekly to facilitate the rebuilding of Pilger. The next meeting will be Tuesday, July 15th at 7:30 p.m.Those wishing to continue to volunteer for tornado cleanup in the Dixon County or Wayne County areas are asked to call 211. Those affected by the tornadoes that still need volunteers to help with cleanup are also asked to call 211."Like" Melina on Facebook and follow her on Twitter to stay connected.