My basement has the original steel (I think) framed windows in place from 1962, when it was built. I've removed windows in block before, at my previous house, but this one does not seem as clear. As you will see in the pictures, above the window there horizontal metal surface that appears to be attached to the window. It appears to be approximately 4-5" wide, and appears on both sides of the glass. The vertical part of the frame is approximately in the middle. I'm not sure if it truly is a part of the window, or something else, like a beam. It appears to be one piece with the frame
Essentially, my question is two fold. First, does this window somehow provided structural integrity to the block wall? Two, how should I start removing it - simply chip away the mortar on the perimeter?
Note: The window pane tilts in, and was removed for these pictures. Also, there is some white quarter round a previous owner had in place to pinch plexiglass in front of the window, trying to seal it. It's unrelated to the window itself.
Edit: Some details on the house... built 1962. Brick veneer. Block foundation wall.