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A nearly 60-year-old feature of Brigham Young University's Provo campus will meet its end in the coming days.

Demolition will begin this week on the smokestack of BYU's Central Heating Plant, spokesman Todd Hollingshead said, as the school shifts away from coal-powered utilities and toward natural gas machinery.

"We're always trying to stay on the front end of being environmentally friendly and meeting emissions standards," Hollingshead said. "It was just the right time for us to take the next step."

The "Y"-emblazoned smokestack, erected in 1958, is located on the southeast corner of Brigham Young University, next to the school's Wilkinson Student Center.

It has long been a part of the university's infrastructure, which relies on coal- and gas-fired boilers to heat and cool campus facilities.

BYU's coal boilers were shut down last month, Hollingshead said, and will be replaced with a cogeneration facility that uses natural gas to power turbines for heating and cooling, and to generate electricity.

"We stopped burning coal as of Nov. 2," he said.

Construction of the cogeneration facility is expected to be completed in 2018, Hollingshead said. The facility will retain two natural gas boilers as backups and is expected to offset between 30 and 50 percent of the Provo school's electrical needs.

The completed facility will feature three stacks, each shorter and skinnier than the current smokestack.

"It's an investment for the future of campus," Hollingshead said.

The demolition at BYU follows the toppling of two smokestacks at Provo City's downtown power plant in August.

The Provo stacks, holdovers from when the city plant burned coal, had stood inactive for roughly 20 years.

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