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Demolition of old Auburn High School under way

A crew demolishes the wood shop, horticulture and metal shop classrooms on the west end of the old Auburn High School complex. The rubble is being removed to make way for parking for the new high school along East Main Street, which is set to open Sept. 3.  - Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter
A crew demolishes the wood shop, horticulture and metal shop classrooms on the west end of the old Auburn High School complex. The rubble is being removed to make way for parking for the new high school along East Main Street, which is set to open Sept. 3.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Auburn Reporter

The unmaking of old Auburn High School has started.

Last week bulldozers began leveling the wood shop, horticulture rooms and metal shop on the west end the high school complex, parts of which are 64 years old.

"We were originally going to start on demolition today," Mike Newman, deputy superintendent of the Auburn School District, said Monday, "but we were able to get started last week."

The ideal would be to have the main building down by the end of July, Newman said, but the determining factor will be the amount of asbestos inspection turns up first that must then be abated.

"We have to go through and clean it in the areas where the ceiling intersects with the walls," Newman said. "When we did cleaning in the 1980s, we thought we took care of all that by shooting a sealant on. But in that sealant are some remnants of asbestos, so we have to abate different aspects of that."

While all that tearing down is going on, work continues on the construction of the new Auburn High School on East Main Street.

According to school officials, the massive, $110 million construction project is on schedule. Lydig Construction, the principal contractor, is building the state-of-the-art school, which is on track to open for classes on Sept. 3.

The main building of the old school won't be razed completely in this phase of the overall project. The district plans to save the gymnasium and the space east of the gym, the latter for music classes while work starts on the new gymnasium on the back side of the Performing Arts Center.

The new gym should be completed next summer.

Newman said a recent district cost analysis showed it would be more expensive to keep the gym where it is and to do the necessary upgrades to make it compatible with the new high school than to tear it down.

"The gym stays for this phase of the project while the new gym is being built between the Performing Arts Center and Auto Technology because we need it for P.E. and athletics," Newman said.

A couple of important dates:

• Auburn High's first home football game is Sept. 5, and the school plans to host an opening barbecue day before the game for officials to come in and see the new facility.

• Saturday, Sept. 13 is the public open house and dedication.

"There's lots to get done inside to get it ready with desks and furniture setup. We got a temporary certificate of occupancy last week. That means we can go in and do the work necessary in there so they'll be able to start setting up classrooms and office spaces," Newman said.

Teachers return in August.

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