The old Groveport Madison High School is slowly coming down to make way for an unobstructed view of the new high school.

Jeff Warner, communications and community-relations director for the Groveport Madison school district, said residents did not see a lot of work going on outside the building for a while because crews were working on asbestos abatement inside.

That has been completed so demolition of the building is in full swing.

Smoot Construction project manager Corey Holben said Darby Creek Excavating Inc., the subcontractor hired to do the demolition work, started with the south end of the school where the band room and locker rooms were located.

Those parts of the building need to be out of the way so a circular driveway in front of the new high school can be built.

"That driveway runs right across the back half of the existing school building so in order for us to build the road before school starts, we have to get the west half of the existing school torn down so that we can get that road built," Holben said.

"For that reason, they are starting on the south and west corners of the building and working up toward the north and the east to get a better flow for the first day of school," he said.

As part of the architect's requirements, Holben said Darby Creek's successful $285,000 bid allows it to recycle and reuse a significant portion of the materials in the current building.

"They discount their bid with the knowledge that they can take the metal out of the building and they can salvage that and recycle that, but it is more than just them recapturing the money," Holben said. "It's a requirement that they recycle up to 75 percent of all materials in there by weight, so they are taking all of the concrete from the floors that does not contain asbestos and they will actually put it in a grinder and then they will crush it up and make gravel out of it and use that on other projects.

"It's basically to divert as much as they can out of the landfill," he said.

"The rest of it gets recycled, reused, donated -- so for all of those reasons, it takes a little longer to do."

Holben said it will take all of August to get the building completely "torn down, sorted and then hauled off site."

So far, the subcontractor has reported the demolition work has been running smoothly with no surprises.

Each day, Darby Creek Excavating crews have been piling a load of bricks from the school in an area in front of the building so residents can pick up a keepsake from their school days.

"I see people in there picking through those and looking for bricks, which is pretty neat," Holben said. "They have a lot of pride and history in that school and I appreciate that."

The project manager said bricks from the old GMHS will be placed in front of the school as long as they are available.

"Once the building is completely down and hauled away, some underground utilities will still have to be installed where the building stood and a parking lot will be built over the top of what used to be the east half of the school," he said.

The new high school is scheduled to be dedicated on Aug. 29. Classes are scheduled to start Sept. 4.

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