The old Exeter Area Junior High School will be demolished to make way for a new YMCA center.
The building, located at 56 Linden St., has been unoccupied for over a decade and has fallen into a state of disrepair. Vandals have smashed many of its windows.
The Southern District YMCA purchased the 10-acre property and plans to build a new community center with a pool, gym, and indoor track. There will also be room for child care, youth, and senior services, among other features. Town officials approved the project earlier this year.
The group said the demolition should be completed by mid-February. It said workers have already started asbestos removal.
"It is most important to make the property safe for the community," said Terry Sullivan, chairman of the local YMCA's board, in a statement. "The Y wants to be a responsible Exeter land owner."
The group is putting together a capital campaign to raise money for construction.
YMCA officials said the building will be energy-efficient–and possibly "LEED"-certified. "LEED" is a nationally recognized building standard that stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design."