The last of the main building of Portola Middle School that peaked over the construction-site fence was pulled down by demolition equipment shortly after noon Wednesday, leaving only a pile of rubble in the foreground and a panaromic view of San Francisco Bay and Albany Hill in the background.
While crews have weeks of work left clearing the site, little remains that would be recognizable to the students who attended the Navellier Street campus over the past several decades.
A few pickup trucks can be seen parked along the loop that dipped off of Navellier Street and past the front entrance leading to the school's office. But the distinctive wing-shaped building no longer stands between the drive and the spectacular view beyond.
Workers have been at the school since spring, getting ready for the demolition, and began chomping on the buildings with steel-jawed contruction equipment in late September.
The 62-year-old school was condemned after being deemed by the West Contra Costa Unified School District as an irremediable seismic hazard on an unstable slope.
Portola classes are being held in temporary buildings on level ground at the western end of the site until a new Portola Middle School is built at the site of the former Castro Elementary School in El Cerrito.
The sloped portion of the current site will be graded and left empty by the school district for the time being. The temporary buildings on the flat western portion of the site, which are now being used by Portola students, will be used temporarily by Fairmont Elementary School students after the new Portola is built. Fairmont will be rebuilt on its current site.
After the Fairmont students move back to their new school, the City of El Cerrito may use the flat portion of site for soccer fields or other uses, depending on city needs at the time and agreements with the school district.