Museum’s aging derrick slated for demolition

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A familiar sight at the East Texas Oil Museum will soon be gone for good.

The wooden oil derrick which has stood at the museum’s entrance since its construction in 1980 is slated for removal, according to a report given at a Kilgore College Board of Trustees meeting Monday evening.

“Something happened – who knows what? It could have been the wind, it could have been an earthquake, it could be just about anything but the derrick has shifted. It’s showing splintered wood. It has a terrible bow in it, it’s under an incredible amount of stress,” said Brian Nutt, chair of KC’s Property & Facilities Committee.

College staff used an aerial drone to take close-up pictures of the derrick high up on the structure. These pictures were displayed to the board and showed cracks in the wooden structure, noticeable bowing of beams and degradation of the derrick’s wooden base.

“It’s in really bad shape and the sad reality, after having various people look at it, it’s going to have to come down permanently,” Nutt said, adding he was worried the damaged derrick might collapse, potentially causing injury or damage to nearby structures.

“It is too big of a threat,” he said.

Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administrative Services Fred Gore said the college is working on a plan to remove the structure as soon as possible.

“We did meet this morning with appraisers and some gentlemen who are more knowledgeable about construction, putting our heads together about what needed to be done. They are calling in a professional engineer to consult on the proper method of dealing with this. At this time, we’re still contemplating the best route to take in working with our insurance,” Gore said.

After the meeting, college staff discussed how damage to the derrick was spotted after a severe storm struck Kilgore March 14. It is unknown if the damage was caused by the storm or if it had occurred prior to that point.

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