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Norman building demolished, more parking ahead

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NORMAN, Okla. -- Demolition started Tuesday morning in downtown Norman. 

An old building is coming down to make way for the growing need for parking in the area.

Heavy machinery devoured the old Phillips building at the corner of Peters and Gray in Norman.

Many stopped to take it all in.

A passerby said, "Not something you see everyday."

The building has been owned by the city since the early 1980s.

It was home to different city departments over the years but has slowly gone in to disrepair.

A tornado hit it this past spring.

City of Norman's Linda Price said, "The roof leaked and other things. It was in pretty bad shape."

This is the first step for this property.

Once cleared the space will be turned into a parking lot, something city officials and those who live and work in Norman say is badly needed.

Price said, "I think it will help quite a bit. If you could see, this parking lot is full as soon as people come to work. It's used by people who work downtown. It's really hard to find a place if you don't get here first thing."

Tuesday metal beams and roof supports were pulled apart as bricks tumbled to the ground.

All of the metal was folded and compacted and then piled to the side to be recycled.

As the demolition continues, traffic on Gray St. and Peters will see temporary detours or lane closures.

While it's sad for some to see the building go, it's a sign of downtown growth for this city.

Price said, "The need for a parking lot is more pressing than the old building."

Crews will spend the next few days cleaning up all of the debris.

Although, not all of it will go to the trash or the recycling bin.

At least one of these bricks will go to the Fowler dealership, the original owner of the building.

The new parking lot will accommodate 43 parking spots, a big improvement for the area.

Before tearing the building down the city did invite Habitat for Humanity in to take any doors or other building materials that were in good shape for their use or to sell in their habitat store.