TWO destructive teens are preparing to raise the roof, the walls and the doors as they start the countdown to the demolition of their secondary school.
Students James Binns, 13, and Mollie Bainbridge, 12, have been placed in charge of flattening the former St Michael’s Catholic Academy, Billingham, after winning a competition to demolish the school.
The out-dated three-storey building that has stood on Beamish Road, Billingham, for the past 50 years, has recently been replaced by a new multi-million pound state of the art academy, constructed in front of the original school.
St Michael’s vice principal Damien Kelly, who came up with the idea of giving students the opportunity to demolish the old building, said: “We invited all of our students to submit an application as to why they thought they should be given the once in a lifetime opportunity to demolish the school.
“James and Mollie both wrote very articulate and moving letters which said even though the old building would be raised to the ground they would be taking their happy memories from the old school to the new building where the community spirit that is St Michael’s would continue to grow and flourish.
“I was incredibly impressed with their applications and they both thoroughly deserve this incredible opportunity.”
James and Mollie will instruct demolition crews from building firm Kier, who completed the construction of the new academy building in May, via a two-way radio linked to a giant high reach grabbing machine that will dismantle the building section at a time.
“This is the first time Kier have been involved in such an initiative idea, to enable the students to be involved in the demolition a building” said Mr Kelly.
“We have had to follow all health and safety regulations very carefully and we are hopeful that the whole school and invited parents and members of the local community will also be able to come along and watch.”
The scheduled demolition is due to take place on July 19.
The cleared ground will form new school car parking sites, recreational areas with landscaping designed by students, and access to the school’s memorial garden.
Mollie, 12, of Norton, said: “I think it is a really cool idea for the teachers to let the students flatten the school – it’s not something that happens everyday.
“My dad was a student at St Michael’s and he was a bit shocked when I told him I was going to knock his old school down – so he is coming along to watch.”
James, 13, of Wynyard, added: “I thought it would be a fun thing to do but I didn’t expect to win the competition and actually get to knock the school down.
“It’s going to be big event for the whole community and I’m really looking forward to it.”