FORT MILL — Crews on Wednesday began demolishing the original Fort Mill High School on Banks Street.
First opened in 1952, the building later became Fort Mill Middle School and was used for a variety of district operations and community programs, including the Fort Mill Care Center. After deciding last year to close the facilities to save $225,000 the district annually payed for utilities and other costs to maintain the buildings, officials announced plans to sell the property.
A deal with homebuilder Standard Pacific, which signed a letter of intent to buy the 6.38-acre property for $600,000, fell through in November and the school district went ahead with asbestos abatement and other preparations for demolition. School officials said demolition would make the land more appealing to future buyers.
George Ford was taking his morning walk Wednesday when he stumbled upon the demolition. He graduated from the old Fort Mill High in 1959. Ford said he was active in sports, playing on the baseball, basketball, football and fencing teams.
His perception of the school changed as he spent more time there.
I didnt like it when I first got here, Ford said. After I discovered girls, things were different. I loved this school.
Ford, who has lived in Fort Mill since age 2, said seeing the demolition of his former school made him remember the area where he has spent most of his life. Ford said its a shame the building is being torn down, but he is glad that he was able to visit his former school again before its deconstruction is complete.
Prior to closing the buildings, the district conducted tours for former students and anyone else who wanted to walk through the old school complex. It also gave the public an opportunity to purchase bricks that will be available when demolition is complete.