Demolition of the old Lowell Elementary School in Great Falls got underway on Monday.
The school was built in 1939 and closed in 1979, according to the Great Falls Public Schools district.
It's located along 5th Avenue North between 31st Street and 32nd Street.
Lowell is being torn down in order to build a new Roosevelt Elementary School on the site.
The current Roosevelt location on 2nd Avenue North is bordered by three one-way streets, which GFPS officials say isn't safe for students and leaves very little room to grow.
A history of Lowell on the GFPS website explains:
Established in 1896, the Lowell School saw two incarnations before the present building was constructed in 1939.
In 1979, the school board decided to close Lowell School for a variety of reasons, but mainly because of declining enrollment and aging facilities. Although Great Falls enjoyed a strong economy, based primarily on the presence of Malmstrom Air Force Base and the city’s status as a trade and transportation center, it was no longer a “growth center” as it had been in the past. Suburban development also drew families away from the traditional neighborhood schools, such as Lowell and Whittier, making them more difficult to support in the face of declining enrollment.
The School Board appointed a School Facilities Sub-Committee in 1978 to study the problem. It classified Lowell School as a Group Three School, recognizing that it had “some problems.” Since 1979, the old school building has housed building trades staff and used for equipment storage.