CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Parts of a Charlottesville Middle School were being demolished today to start a three-year modernization project. 

“This weekend, the gym at Buford Middle School is coming down. It is being demolished and the contractors hope they can get the demolition done over the weekend. So then over the next few weeks they will start sorting out materials so they can take them away so then they can really start building what becomes the new part of Buford Middle School,’ Supervisor of Community Relations of Charlottesville City Schools, Beth Cheuk said.

The demolition is the kick start to Buford Middle School’s massive upgrade. Crews started early Saturday taking down what used to be the school gym. 

“We are really excited to see this gym come down because even though work began in June, when this building comes down it will be the first sign of really visible progress for our community to see,” Cheuk said.

The middle school modernization project is supported by local City funds and a $17.6 million state grant, rounding out the total cost of $91.8 million.

The funding marks the City’s first significant investment in school facilities since the opening of Charlottesville High School in 1974.

“This is a project we have been talking about in our community for years. And this is the first step to making those hopes and dreams for a new middle school come true in our community. 

The project is expected to be completed by Fall of 2026. Seventh and Eighth-grade students will attend the school on campus throughout the modernization and when the project is completed, sixth graders will also begin attending the middle school.