LEWISBURG – Real estate maintenance at RiverWoods wouldn’t normally attract a crowd, but typically a 230-foot crane isn’t involved.

Dozens of residents and senior community workers gathered near the Ridgecrest Court Apartments on campus to watch an operator use Zartman Construction’s 300-ton Grove crane to remove an obsolete cooling tower and move through a new unit replace.

The crane loomed high above the three-story building that houses around 200 RiverWoods residents. Allison Kauffman, home sales consultant, said the crane was even larger than the model used during the Evangelical Community Hospital expansion on Route 15.

Ron Kemper, general manager and facility director, said the 22-year-old cooling tower had been replaced because it had become inefficient and unreliable. He estimated his weight at 28,000 pounds and said the new unit was approximately 30,000 pounds.

According to Kemper, it took about two months to coordinate the project. The new unit is a trane. CVC Mechanical Contractors led the project.

“It was pretty neat, but it was kind of anti-climactic compared to all the preparations that were going on,” said Kemper. “They want it to get boring at this stage.”

Martha Donahue lives in a cottage on campus, but expects to move to the apartment building soon. As a retired librarian, she said she had long had an interest in engineering and physics. She remembered once watching contractors in Siena, Italy, use an even larger crane.

“It’s exciting to see. It’s great that they set up a place where residents can see him, ”said Donahue.

“I find it interesting and quite surprising. When I saw that the crane could lift 300 tons, that’s an incredible number for me, ”said Bernice Troutman, who lives in the Ridgecrest building.