Demolition of Parkside School Completed, New Facility Coming

courtesy photo

The former Parkside Elementary School was
demolished in June to make way for a new facility.

By Glenn Gullmes

The demolition of the Parkside School was met with mixed emotions from those who wanted to save the aging structure, but with the long-closed school now mostly removed, construction can begin on building the new Dianne Feinstein Elementary School.

Much to the dismay of the Parkside School Preservation Society, whose last minute efforts led to a "stop-work" notice which was in effect for two weeks, Parkside School - originally built in 1922 by renowned architect John Reid, Jr. - is now nothing more than a memory and a pile of debris. The heavy machinery started knocking down buildings on June 15 and by June 18 Parkside School was no more.

With the sound of crackling thunder, the school walls toppled into clouds of dust that were immediately watered down by a crew of workers. Bulldozers cleared away heaps of mangled wood and concrete as a convoy of dump trucks hauled away tons of rubble.

Dozens of curious onlookers stopped by the site to witness the ongoing spectacle, with one neighbor across the street settling in with a lawn chair.

According to project manager Eric Hansen of Nibbi Brothers Construction, the project, which officially started May 10, should last about 20 months. Work hours will be from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. The entire project is expected to cost approximately $21 million, with completion slated for the Fall of 2005.

Although most of the demolition is completed, some remaining items will be demolished throughout the summer. The removal of the foundation - one of the noisiest phases of the project - should be done by July 9.

In early July, the contractors will activate street space encroachment permits for 24th Avenue and Vicente Street in order to demolish part of the city sidewalk for the installation of retaining walls around the site. Workers will use a vibratory hammer to reduce noise impacts of the installation of the steel shoring beams.

Major earthwork operations will take place through September, with dump trucks removing soil from the site. Vibratory compaction equipment will be used to compact on-site soils, which may cause some noise in the neighborhood. Concrete work should be complete by the end of 2004 and rough framing will begin in the fall and last six months. All sidewalks and curbs around the site will eventually be replaced - as will most of the trees surrounding the property.

In addition to its work with the SF Unified School District, Nibbi has concentrated on building private schools and local historic landmarks, including the Cliff House Restaurant and old St. Mary's Cathedral.