By Trevor Suffield
Feb. 12, 2009
School's out forever for Krawchyk School in Brooklands.
There were some tears and a whole lot of cheers from over 200 people as the first strikes of a bulldozer sent pieces of the nearly 100-year-old building crumbling down.
The red brick Krawchyk School, located at 1950 Pacific Ave., is being demolished after sitting vacant for the past 12 years.
To help celebrate the occasion, adjacent Brooklands School held a Red Brick Knock Down Barbecue, giving the community an opportunity to watch the demolition and share their memories.
Principal of Brooklands, Rex Ferguson-Baird, said that he was glad to see the building go.
The building itself has been sitting vacant and it's a bit of an eyesore. There's some graffiti on it, and some minor vandalism from some kids, said Ferguson-Baird.
He added that the community response has been positive because something is finally being done with the property.
The night before, Grade 3 student Cody Pescitelli was chosen in a random draw and given the chance sit in the wrecker's machine and make the ceremonial first strike.
However, shortly before the scheduled 11 a.m. start time, word came down that Pescitilli would not be allowed to operate the crane.
A spokesperson for Workplace Safety and Health said that because of safety considerations equipment like that has to be operated by a trained person.
Undeterred, Pescitelli still got to wear a hard hat and sit in the big machine while his classmates cheered him onbefore the actual demolition started.
They think it's pretty cool, said Pescitelli of his classmate's reaction.
Georgina Probetts has lots of memories of the school, as three generations of her family attended.
I'm sad to see it go, she said holding back tears.
Classmates from 1940-1949, John Galayda and Victor Epp, came from North Kildonan to watch Krawchyk come down.
For Galayda, one of his favorite memories of the school was of the dentist's office.
The dentist wasn't there all the time, but he would check out the kids teeth and do whatever needed to be done, he said.
The Public School Finance Board is payingf $297,942 for the demolition, which is being handled by Imrie Demolition.
According to Wayne Imrie, it will take approximately six weeks until the job is complete to ground level.
Leading up to the event, Ferguson-Baird had been getting requests for red bricks from sentimental former students.
As a result, all the bricks will be saved for former students and community members.
Nora Daniel, whose oldest sister started at the school in 1924, requested 13 bricks for herself and her siblings, as they all attended at one time.
I went to this school from 1938 to 1947, and all my children attended this school, said Daniel, who still proudly lives in Brooklands.
Plans for the school site are for a green space, including a hill, a community garden and possibly an outdoor learning space.
The history of the school will be preserved, assured Ferguson-Baird
We'll make some kind of marker with the limestone and red brick and the two corner stones, he said, adding that a time capsule from current students will also be created.
However, that probably won't happen until 2011 to celebrate Krawchyk's 100-year anniversary, he said.