Demolition of historic Central School started Monday morning.
Helena Public Schools hired Bullock Construction Services to complete the demolition at a cost of $115,775, the lowest of five bids.
While Bullock Construction Services was already knocking down parts of the building on Monday, Superintendent Jack Copps said the district hasn't decided whether the archway will be saved. A second company, A-Core, is testing the archway to see if it will stay in one piece if removed.
The archway appears to be granite but was made out of terracotta and coated. Until an evaluation is completed, Bullock Construction has been instructed to stay away from the front of the building.
"In the end, we may not be able to save it," Copps said.
The district is considering other options to make sure the new building resembles the school built in 1915. Copps said that could include designing a replica of the archway. Other historic items, such as granite caps, doorways and drinking fountains, have already been removed from Central.
Copps said the entire building will be demolished in five days and it will take Bullock Construction six weeks to remove the debris and recycle 90 percent of it.
The Central demolition has been a school district priority after the dismissal of a lawsuit that delayed work on the building.
Central, Bryant and Jim Darcy Elementary schools are slated to be demolished and rebuilt as part of a $63 million bond passed in May.