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The century-old Granite High School campus in South Salt Lake is facing its final days after a $2.55 million demolition contract was approved by Granite School District on Tuesday.

District spokesman Ben Horsley said demolition is likely to begin in August after work on asbestos mitigation has been completed.

Granite High School opened in 1907 and has been closed since 2009.

Over the last decade, various proposals have been floated to preserve the school's iconic structures. But after an $11.6 million sale to Wasatch Developments and Garbett Homes, the southern portion of the high school site will be converted into a residential development, with commercial or other uses slated for the parcel's north side.

Jacob Ballstaedt, project manager for Garbett Homes, said plans call for 76 homes to be built on the southern 16 acres of the 27-acre parcel. Proposals for the north portion, he said, are still being finalized.

"Our partners are working on a rezone for the property to have a commercial center with some retail," he said.

Included in the terms of the sale, Horsley said, was a provision that the school district pay for demolition of the school.

"The [school] district is not a historical preservation organization," Horsley said. "We have an obligation to our taxpayers and it's time for us to move forward, and we have with this purchase agreement."

Granite School District first issued a request for demolition bids in December, before approving a contract with Staker Parson Co. at this week's school board meeting.

Horsley said the delay in awarding the contract was due to the work of assessing the property.

"It took us several months for them to actually analyze the facility and come up with a proper bid," he said.

Horsley said the district plans to work with the demolition crew to preserve pieces of memorabilia from the school demolition, to be made available to members of the public.

He said the keepsakes would likely be in the form of bricks from the school facade.

"We just need to make sure that's done in a way that is safe," Horsley said. "We don't want people trying to scale the fence."

Ballstaedt said construction on the residential development will begin this summer, as portions of the property — particularly the school's former baseball field — have already been cleared. As demolition advances, he said, so will construction of the residential properties.

"We're excited to see some activity there and something happening," Ballstaedt said. "We recognize there will be some mixed feelings about the buildings. There's a lot of history there."

Twitter: @bjaminwood

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