Originally created 07/18/04

Post auctions off 1940s-era facilities to highest bidder



Imagine buying an entire building for $5.

Boots Martin and his son, Daniel, did it Saturday afternoon.

They were among about 30 people gathered at Fort Gordon listening intently to an auctioneer's calls during the sale of World War II-era buildings at the Army post.

While the Martins were able to purchase what amounted to a small house, Elizabeth Bellamy and Gregg Brittain, both of Augusta, were equally satisfied with their purchase price after paying $2,700 for a former warehouse, once used to store Army supplies.

Mrs. Bellamy, who was standing in for her truck-driving husband, Melton Bellamy, said they will use wood, metal and the window fixtures salvaged from the warehouse to construct a new family home on Georgia Highway 56 in south Augusta.

"To go out and buy this would be so much more expensive," said Mrs. Bellamy, who said Mr. Brittain will assist her husband in deconstructing the Army facility and transferring the old materials to the new house's site.

The first-time auction is part of the Fort Gordon Recycling Program, said Fort Gordon spokeswoman Marla Jones. She said it wouldn't be cost-effective for the government to tear down the 50-year-old buildings and transfer the materials to a landfill.

Steve Willard, the chief of the Fort Gordon office of Environmental Natural & Cultural Resources Management, said similar auctions were successful at forts Knox and Campbell, Army posts in Kentucky.

"It's beautiful wood you could never buy today," Mr. Willard said.

Hal Beman and David Morris, two area businessmen, agreed with Mr. Willard.

"It'd be a shame to waste such great wood," said Mr. Beman, who paid $1,300 for a warehouse. He plans to use the parts to construct a new country house.

Mr. Morris said his old building cost $1,200, and he'll build on property he owns in the Spring Lakes subdivision in Martinez.

In addition to purchasing costs, the new owners must account for demolition, cleanup and storage fees, Mr. Morris said.

Ms. Jones said abatement, or asbestos removal, has already been taken care of by government officials.

What's Next: Buyers of World the War II-era buildings at Fort Gordon may start taking down their buildings Aug. 1. All work must be completed by Sept. 11.

Reach Timothy Cox at (706) 823-3217 or tim.cox@augustachronicle.com.