Carlisle High School demolition makes way for new $49M building

As the new Carlisle School building for grades pre-K through 12 nears completion, demolition began this week at the former Carlisle High School on Jamaica Road.

“There’s going to be a lot of action going on around here over the next three weeks,” said Carlisle Superintendent Larry Hook. “You’ll be able to see the front of the new building after the high school is down.”

Hook said the old high school, which was built in 1972, sits in front of the new $49 million facility where the parking lot will be located. Hook said the high school demolition will also require that the former basketball gym, which was in a pit below the main floor of the building, be filled.

He expects the high school demolition to be completed next week. After that, Alden Brown Elementary will be next, as three of the building’s wings need to be taken down for the bus entrance to the new school building, he said.

Fencing has been erected around the old high school, Alden Brown and Chamberlain buildings to keep people out as crew complete asbestos abatement and for demolition. The district offices have been moved to the Bobby Grigsby Intermediate School until the new facility opens, and the offices will be relocated there.

The Alden Brown building was built in 1956, the Chamberlain building was built in 1930 and Grigsby Intermediate was built in 1963. Grigsby Intermediate will be the last building to come down.

“We need to move quick because school starts on Sept. 8,” he said. “We hope to be done by early July.”

Hook said the district is starting the 2020-21 school year after the Labor Day due to the construction.

“The construction project is on-time, under budget and is going great,” he said. “We have to hit our timeline to open on time.”

The district broke ground on the new 210,000-square-foot building in October 2018. In May 2017, voters approved a 6.2-mill, $21 million bond levy for the project, and the state is covering $29 million, or about 60 percent, of the costs.

As demolition crews worked on Tuesday and later into the evening, cars would drive slow past the Carlisle school campus, and some people would stop and get out of their vehicles to take a few photos.

One of those people, Cheryl Manning, said her son and daughter went to school and graduated at Carlisle. She said her parents both graduated from the previous high school building, which became Chamberlain Middle School. and her parents graduated from the high school when it was previously located in the Chamberlain building.

She said the high school demolition was “sad… sad. Hate to see it go. Lot of memories there.”

When asked if she was excited about the new building opening in September, Manning said “yes and no” but that her grandchildren were excited about the new building.

Hook said there was an auction for equipment and furnishings from the old high school that raised nearly $20,000 that will go toward improvements into the new building. He said some private schools purchased items like student desk chairs and other equipment.

Another auction is slated for 9 a.m. Friday for items from the Chamberlain building. Hook said after the auction, the building will be sealed for asbestos abatement before demolition. He said a number of items from the Chamberlain building have been salvaged for new use such as the front door lanterns, bell, plaques and arches for the new auditorium.

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