The walls of the aging came crumbling down Monday morning, as demolition work got underway at the site.
From 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Essex Newbury North Construction demolished the technology wing and gym section of the middle school, according to Timothy Hurdelbrink, vice president of operations and project executive for Boston-based Shawmut Design and Construction. Shawmut hired the Haverhill construction firm to handle the demolition project.
"We're happy with the progress," Hurdelbrink said Monday night following a Stoneham School Committee session at the . "The goal really is with the benefit of starting a little earlier than we expected is to try and get as much of the debris hauled offsite before the kids come back." The first day of school in Stoneham is Sept. 6.
The plan is for the middle school site to be cleaned up and done by the mid-September, according to Hurdelbrink.
"Generally speaking, the knockdown of something of this size takes five-to-seven days and the hauling takes about three-to-four weeks," Hurdelbrink said. "What they're doing in this case is a lot of sorting of the debris onsite into separate categories—masonry, wood, steel—and then it's easier for them to recycle it if it's separated because there are certain facilities that will take it in an unseparated form, but there is a lot of general construction debris, not so much demolition debris, that will go unsorted to a facility to get sorted onsite.
"I do know that sometimes concrete will get crushed up and turned into processed gravel, but I'm not completely sure there is a reuse for crushed-up masonry. At Jeanne (Craigie)'s request, we are saving some selected bricks I'm sure for some historical and sentimental value."
Stoneham School Building Committee chairperson Jeanne Craigie, who was present as the demolition commenced, said she hadn't witnessed or heard of any problems cropping up after day one of the demolition project.
"We have a clerk of the works onsite at all times," Craigie said on Monday. "As of this morning I heard of no issues (although) I did not stay for the entire process. (was) onsite wetting the debris and building down as (Essex Newbury North) demolished it. For them it looked pretty routine."
Once the demolition work is finished, Craigie said: "We will close the site and wait for all the bids to come in and proceed with construction in March."
In February, , as the middle school will be an constructed as a two-story addition to the current location.