As the community prepares to say goodbye to the building that once housed Driscoll Catholic High School, Addison officials have organized a ceremonial start to the demolition on Monday morning.
At 10 a.m. Nov. 15, the contractor will tear an opening near the southwest corner of the building at 555 N. Lombard Road, starting the final chapter in the history of the school that closed about 18 months ago.
The village initially planned only to set aside bricks for Driscoll alumni who wanted a piece of the 43-year-old school, but Assistant Community Development Director Robert Nissen said the demolition's announcement last month sparked calls from other residents, too.
"We were getting a lot of interest to witness or to participate," he said. "And to a certain extent it is a sad day in our community, so we'll offer the chance to be there."
Driscoll closed in 2009 when the Christian Brothers, who ran the school, said declining enrollment and financial woes made it unsustainable. Supporters rapidly raised money and created a proposal to buy Driscoll, but their offer was rejected.
The village of Addison purchased the land where the building stands for $2.9 million this fall from the Joliet Diocese, with some of the proceeds going to Catholic school scholarships.
Now Addison will lease the 19-acre property for $1 a year to DuPage High School District 88 so Addison Trail High School students can use the football and baseball fields for athletic practices and parking.
But the building will be demolished because Addison officials said it would be too costly to repair and maintain.
Monday's work will allow crews to bring equipment into the structure to begin internal demolition, which will take about two weeks, officials said.
After that, demolition of the school's exterior will begin. Addison will make exterior bricks available to anyone in the Driscoll community, but the village has dropped its plans to offer the bricks on-site due to liability concerns.
The exact hours and location of the brick pile are still undetermined, Nissen said. It will be accessible for one month during daytime work hours and for a few hours on Saturday mornings.