Phoenix High School is on its way to having new digs when the 2013-14 school year starts in the fall.
Demolition work on the school's new location at 1315 W. Fourth Ave. has been going for almost two weeks. Kennewick School District officials said the roughly $1.65 million project is running on schedule.
The new space will give the alternative high school, along with the district's Legacy Online program, plenty of room for growth.
"It should be Phoenix's home for quite a while," said Doug Carl, the district's director of capital projects.
Phoenix High, which has about 60 students, uses project-based learning techniques and is currently located in leased space at a shopping center at the corner of Vancouver Street and Fourth Avenue.
Carl said the district never planned to keep Phoenix High in the leased space and has worked to find a permanent place for its students.
The new space is located next to a grocery store and is just down the street from the district's administrative offices. The building formerly housed a church and the offices of the state department of ecology, but was vacant for more than a year.
The exterior of the building will change little except for the installation of a separate entrance for Legacy Online's spaces. The inside is being almost entirely gutted, with new plumbing, electrical and technological infrastructure. Even the ceiling will be raised, meaning the fire sprinklers and heating and cooling will be redone, Carl said.
"We're going to make it feel bigger," he said.
The district will have some long-term savings from the project, Carl said. The building will be connected by a new fiber-optic wire connection to the servers in the administrative offices, cutting down on technology costs.
But the biggest benefit will be the room for growth. Phoenix High's space will be big enough to accommodate roughly double its current enrollment. District officials are already planning to have 80 students enrolled at the school next year.
Construction is scheduled to be finished by the end of July. The district will move in furniture and other equipment in early August.