An unforeseen problem will result in a more prominent position for the old Evans Consolidated School pillars and arch in the memorial gardens at the Columbia County Library complex.
County leaders and a committee created to save the pillars and arch initially agreed to place the only remnants of the former school, which burned to the ground in 1955, around a retention pond behind the Evans Government Center and library.
"The problem is the rock forms are just too big to get equipment back there,'' said former state Rep. Bill Jackson, Sr., who led the Save the Pillars committee that raised funds for the move and is overseeing it.
"The equipment that it would take to move them over there (along the retention pond) is so big and heavy it would crush everything," Jackson said, referring to the surrounding walkway, grass and pond embankment.
The arch and all but one of the pillars sits on a base of concrete, brick and iron cross bracing that required the lifting power of a crane just to get the rock forms out of the ground in front of the old Evans Middle School site.
Six of the seven pillars weigh approximately 10 tons each and the arch weighs at least three times more, Jackson said. The arch is so large, and the embankment so narrow, Jackson said, it would topple under its own weight.
County officials and the Pillars Committee decided Tuesday to move the massive rock forms to a more visible location along the northern side of the library where they will line a new service walkway to a playground and concession area near the Columbia County Amphitheater.
The walkway and concession area, which will also have restroom facilities, is under construction with completion planned for late summer, said Preston Duffie, the chief forester with Columbia County Community and Leisure Services.
It will make the amphitheater and playground more accessible to patrons, he said.
Jackson and other members of the committee said they were pleased with the new location, which will be visible from inside the library and to patrons of the amphitheater and playground.
"It's probably nicer than the other (location)," Jackson said. "You'll see them. Anyone who comes down this walkway or down the parking lot is going to see them."
Volunteer crews have yet to move the arch, but Jackson said he hopes it will soon join the pillars with all in position by the end of this month.
One of the pillars, which is without a base and was toppled by a bus long before the move, will either be rebuilt or the top used for a commemorative plaque, Jackson said.
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