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The demolition of the boiler house chimney at the old Hornby High School site on Waterloo Rd started on Tuesday. It is part of the last stage of the demolition of the old campus.
Hornby High has nearly completed its rebuild next door after the old campus was damaged in the February 22, 2011, earthquake.
The second stage of the school was completed in September, and features three new buildings, including modern multi-purpose spaces matching the equivalent of 20 classrooms.
Hornby High principal Robin Sutton said while he was "not sad to see (the old chimney) go", it was a well-known landmark for many people in the area.
He said the chimney was used as part of the school's outdoor education system and students used to abseil down it.
Resident Marc Duff, who attended the old high school in the 1980s, recalls the tower being used for photoshoots.
He said when the school marked its 10th anniversary in 1985, the tower was used to take an aerial shot of students forming the numeral "10".