Demolition crews have moved in on a former Sandwell College building, which once bustled with students from across the Black Country.
Soon the landmark site, where thousands of students from around the region once flocked, will be little more than a pile of rubble.
The building, in Pound Road, Oldbury, is being cleared to pave the way for a development of 117 new homes. Sandwell's schools boss councillor Bob Badham said a lot of people would be disappointed to see it go.
"The Sandwell College was highly thought of by a lot of people and it's always sad to see a well-established building demolished," he said.
"But it was always part of the overall programme of giving the students a new state-of-the-art building.
"It's one of those things that had to happen."
He added: "It's a good spot for housing and I'm sure the homes will be of a very high standard."
The old Sandwell College building had been a target for vandals since students moved to a £77 million campus, in Spon Lane, in February.
Incidents include a fire started by arsonists on the ground floor in April.
Scott Curtis, a spokesman for Bovis Homes, which is behind the College Gate housing development, said the start of the demolition was an important step.
He said: "This is yet another important milestone in the history of College Gate and we look forward to getting on this area of land to start building the remainder of the 117 new Bovis homes in this new part of Oldbury.
"College Gate is bringing jobs to the area and a boost to the local economy, as well as a wide mix of quality new homes which offer opportunities for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder or growing families to find more space."
The company said it would liaise with the community.
By David Lumb