Red Clay School District builds 11-story tower to topple LEGO record

MILLTOWN — For the Red Clay School District, Monday evening was literally one for the record books.

After months of work in classrooms across the district and a few days of painstaking engineering, a stack of LEGO bricks towers high over John Dickinson High School outside of Wilmington.

It’s made out of more than 500,000 of the small plastic bricks. It weighs almost a ton. And it’s exactly 112 feet, 11 ¾inches tall.

The more than 10-story height makes it officially the tallest structure made of interlocking toy bricks ever built, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

“Wow. Just — wow,” said Ralph Stormer, a Dickinson student who helped build some of the decorative exterior. “You know when you’re talking about a world record it’s going to be big. But seeing it now, it’s really cool.”

Every year, Red Clay puts together a “theme” for the first few months of school, said Assistant Superintendent Ted Ammann, who spearheaded the tower project.

This year, the district is embarking on a multimillion-dollar construction and renovation campaign, so it only made sense to make the project about building something.

“We thought, ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be great to do something with LEGOs?’ And then we started talking about trying to break this record,” Ammann said. “We knew it was going to be a huge task, but I knew we were up to it.”

The district held a “brick drive,” calling for every student to contribute. It also held fundraisers and sought donations from numerous groups, ranging from New Castle County to Delaware Technical Community College to the YMCA.

Students at every school in the district worked in the final days of the past school year and during the summer to assemble tower segments. Then, over the past few days, contractors volunteered to place the segments together, using cranes and lifts.

The bricks are built up around a metal cylinder that is supported by a maze of guy-wires, but that’s strictly a safety feature to prevent the structure from toppling.