SOUTH HEART-Demolition of the 101-year-old South Heart School began Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.
JE Dunn is the company in charge of building the new school, but they contracted out the excavation for the project-taking the old building down and removing the material-to Cordova Construction of Dickinson. Payton Hughes, an owner of Cordova Construction, said demolition of the building was bittersweet.
"Knocking down an old historic building was a new challenge for our 13-person crew, but it was also sad to the faces of those witnessing the demolition," he said.
He went on to describe the mixed feelings he had at the site on Tuesday, looking at the faces of those watching you could see how much the building meant to them and how they will miss it, he said.
Demolition of the building that was built when Woodrow Wilson was president and stood for more than a century should be leveled by the end of the day Tuesday. Removing the material should be completed by the end of the week.
Calvin Dean, the school's superintendent, manned the gate as 60 people, most with cell phones and cameras, gathered outside the fence at the construction site on the cool, cloudy morning to witness the demolition. Several others watched the destruction from their cars on the road behind the school.
Dean said tearing down the old school is sad but the new school is really needed. He said the school has seen a continual increase in enrollment during and even after the oil boom. There are now more than 300 kids in the school and the new school will allow for more growth in the future.
Wayne Kubas, a 1976 graduate of South Heart School, said he understood that nothing lasts forever and the new school is just part of progress. He said the school has been huge part of his family's life and will miss seeing the big building everyday.
Kubas' wife Marla works in the school's kitchen and said she will miss the school but is looking forward to the future and a new kitchen to work in.
Landon Pavlish, a South Heart senior, joined his father at the demolition.
"The school has just always has been there my whole life, it is the first thing you see when you come in town," he said. "I think it is going to be really weird coming in town in the future and the old school won't be there."
Pavlish said he understood that progress, while difficult, also starts new eras. He said it will be exciting to be part of the first graduating class at the new school.