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Deanna Nielsen drove into a parking lot Tuesday afternoon to a massive pile of bricks as workers continued to demolish Granite High School

The Sandy woman joined a stream of visitors looking to take home a piece from the historic school, which has sat vacant for almost a decade.

Nielsen took a brick for her mother, Ruth Lehman Johnson, who graduated from the school in 1935 and is now 100 years old. While she did not attend the school herself, Nielsen said her mother told stories, fondly remembering football games.

Cradling the brick she selected, Nielsen said: "I wanted to take a piece of her past home to her."

Dozens of Granite alumni, former faculty members and their loved ones took bricks Tuesday in commemoration of their time spent within its walls. Visitors have until Thursday to pick up a brick, according to the high school's alumni Facebook page.

Granite opened in 1907 and was a landmark in South Salt Lake until its closure in 2009. Despite several efforts to preserve the historic building, the property was purchased for $11.6 million by Wasatch Developments and Garbett Homes for residential development. The $2.5 million demolition began in late June and crews will finish in late August.

Taking home a piece of Granite High proved to be bittersweet for many who visited Tuesday. David Spackman, a 1990 graduate and Kaysville resident, believed at least part of the school could have been repurposed instead of completely leveled.

Although he wanted a brick from his old school, Spackman said, "It's sad even having a piece of it."

For some, collecting bricks brought back happy memories. Frederik Dissel remembered playing against the Granite Farmers in basketball when he attended the old South High School, which is now part of Salt Lake Community College.

Dissel picked a brick for his wife, Karen, who graduated from Granite in 1971 and grew up a few blocks from the school. The couple now lives in Phoenix, but return regularly. He was in town on business.

"This is old home for us," he said. "We have come here for the fireworks displays and several activities after the school closed. This is part of our lives."

Misty Langford gazed over what remained of the campus while clutching three bricks — one for herself, her husband and her brother. The South Salt Lake resident graduated in 2008, though because of Granite's closure she had to attend East High School her final semester. Although the school has been closed for a while, It was a comfort to know it was still standing, she said. "To see it actually coming down is sad.", Twitter: @kelgiffo