Elmhurst School demolition underway in Portsmouth

Workers from J.R. Vinagro Corporation tear down the north end of the former Elmhurst School Friday afternoon. Workers from J.R. Vinagro Corporation tear down the north end of the former Elmhurst School Friday afternoon.

Workers from J.R. Vinagro Corporation tear down the north end of the former Elmhurst School Friday afternoon.

Workers from J.R. Vinagro Corporation tear down the north end of the former Elmhurst School Friday afternoon.

PORTSMOUTH — To borrow a phrase from John Mellencamp, “the walls come tumbling down.”

On Friday, workers from J.R. Vinagro Corporation started tearing down the former Elmhurst School, which has been closed since 2010.

The Town Council Nov. 25 voted unanimously to demolish everything north of the music room at the former school.

That includes the former school’s chapel, which some in town had hoped to preserve for use as a performance space. (Ten stained glass windows have already been removed from the chapel. The town is storing them in hopes of finding a buyer.)

The school’s front entranceway has been gutted.

The school’s front entranceway has been gutted.

On Friday afternoon, workers were seen taking down the north end of the complex. The job will proceed in a southerly direction until it reaches the town-owned Glen Manor House, which is rented out for weddings and other functions.

The demolition plan was contingent on Vinagro’s ability to get the building down and the property cleared in time for the Glen Manor House’s first spring rental, scheduled for May 3, 2014. The contractor has told the town that the demolition job will be completed by April 1.

The former Elmhurst School’s windows have been removed in preparation for the demolition job.

The former Elmhurst School’s windows have been removed in preparation for the demolition job.

Supporters of the demolition job say it will open up the property to the waterfront and greatly enhance the profitability of the Glen Manor House, a proven money-maker for the town.

Those who wanted to preserve the chapel had proposed several uses for the building, including office space for school administration, a performing arts center, a film/music production studio and a community civic center.

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