PUEBLO — Heroes K-8 Academy is almost completely gone, but District 60 is providing a unique way for former students to keep a piece of the building close to their hearts.
Formerly Freed Middle School, the building is the first vacant school in the district to be demolished in 30 years.
The demolition company, H.W. Houston Construction, and D60 decided to save bricks from the demolition site and offer them to community members as a memorabilia. Former Freed Middle student Mike Donnell now serves on the D60 Citizen's Bond Advisory Committee and says he's adding to his sentimental-brick collection.
"I have a brick from here, someone gave me a brick from Centennial cause I wasn't in town when the old Centennial came down. Obviously, you want a free brick," said Donnell.
Some former students, like Diego Gonzales, are feeling especially nostalgic about the demolition. Gonzales wrestled for the school's team when he attended back in the 1960s. He repeatedly said "it's kinda sad" to see the school come down. Gonzales frequently checks on the site to see how the progress is coming along.
Meanwhile, Donnell has a much more practical view of the construction. When asked at the site if he was feeling many emotions about the change, he responded "No, not at all. It makes common sense that what you're seeing behind us should happen."
Anyone interested in keeping a Heroes Academy brick for themselves can go down to H.W. Houston Construction's office and pick one up. The bricks will be first-come-first-serve.
The project is being funded through D60's "largest bond" and marks the "first major bond project to be completed," according to the district.
The announcement of the demolition originally sparked controversy and concern in the community.
The land will still be owned by D60 as a potential location for a new school in the future.
The bond is going towards several other projects, including HVAC units at South High School and Pueblo Academy of Arts, providing the buildings with air conditioning for the first time.