The Crozier Tech building in Dallas is soon to reopen, 22 years after it was abandoned as a school.
Passengers at the busy Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail station in front of the school have watched it decay for decades.
Now, graduates who fought to see it saved are thrilled the building is finally being revived.
"It was like a family school. We were all family. Everybody got along together. It was such a great time that we still get together," said 1969 graduate Irene Neria-Pena.
Her husband, Gilbert Pena, is a 1966 Crozier Tech graduate. They did not know each other during the year they attended the same school but met at a 2009 alumni fundraiser and got married later. They have a large collection of Crozier Tech yearbooks and memorabilia.
"We still take pictures on the steps, even though it's been closed," Irene Neria-Pena said.
The 110-year-old historic landmark at Bryan and Pearl streets was the only Dallas high school when it was built in 1907. It replaced an 1884 school building that was on the same site. The building has gone by several names over years and had several owners since it closed for good as a school in 1995.
Part of the building was severely damaged by fire, but the oldest structure remains.
Developer Matthews Southwest purchased it for a $50 million combination of renovation and new construction at the downtown site.
"This was an old building. It had asbestos. It had lead. The structure itself had to be reinforced," said senior vice president Kristian Teleki.
Historic decorative features of the old building are being preserved while adding modern communication and ventilation equipment.
"We will be delivering tenant space for our first tenant, end of the summer," Teleki said.
An architecture firm and collaborative office tenant will be the initial occupants of the renovated building. Public restaurants are planned on the first floor.
Plans are still being finalized for use of the entire five-acre site, but a new hotel behind the existing building is a strong possibility.
"We would see perhaps three or four buildings in addition to what's here right now on the site," Teleki said.
The graduates are anxious to visit the renovated building.
"If they would have knocked the building down, I'm sure I would have been in tears," Gilbert Pena said.