And likely to be gone with the debris that once was the old school is the lawsuit by preservationists seeking to save it.
"There's no school to save now, so there's no reason to continue the suit," said Thomas La Fleur, of the Pittsburg Society for the Preservation of Historical Resources.
The suit was filed Aug. 14. Nine days later, Pittsburg Unified School District's Board of Trustees unanimously voted to tear down the old brick schoolhouse (also known as Marina Elementary School) at Black Diamond and West Eighth streets.
La Fleur's group unsuccessfully sought a court order preventing the demolition until a trial could be held on the lawsuit, which contended that the district failed to exhaust all its options. The rectangular school building had been declared a historic resource by the city. "The judge refused to issue an injunction," La Fleur said. "She told us that she didn't feel we would prevail in the trial. We disagreed, but we didn't have time to file an appeal before the district went ahead with the demolition."
Because the preservationists have not formally withdrawn the suit, Pittsburg Superintendent Reed McLaughlin declined to comment on it. He did say that the district's plans are to have the new school and underground parking lot ready to open possibly as early as January of 2008, weather permitting.
"We have to be cautious," he said. "If we get another heavy rainy season, we could be delayed until summer."
The board will call for bids this month, open them in November and award the contract in December with the intent of starting construction in January, McLaughlin said.
In a previous interview, McLaughlin argued against preserving the old school because it was inadequate for the district's needs and the district has no other available site north of Highway 4.
The society argued that the district did in fact have other alternatives, including renovating the school for about $3.5 million and using it as a school or administrative facility. The school was one of the last surviving art-deco buildings still standing in Pittsburg, La Fleur said.
Preservationists based their arguments on a state law requiring that all alternatives be explored before demolition can proceed. They contended that the district's plan to demolish and replace the school with a newer and bigger one failed to fully examine those alternatives.
"It failed to include sufficient information about alternatives to allow meaningful evaluation, analysis and comparison with the proposed project. No structural study was performed to evaluate the previous seismic reinforcement work (done in 1931) that had been performed on the building. No comparative costs of alternatives were included in the (environmental) analysis," the lawsuit stated.