MGM demolishing school to make way for Massachusetts casino

Rendering of what the new MGM Springfield casino will look like (Image provided by MGM Springfield)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — MGM Resorts International is taking a significant step toward building its $950 million resort casino in western Massachusetts.

The Las Vegas-based company says it will start demolishing the long-vacant Alfred G. Zanetti Elementary School next week.

MGM officials will be on hand Tuesday morning as the work begins in earnest. The company recently received state and city approvals for the work, which will last several weeks. The site will eventually become the casino’s parking garage.

The school was badly damaged when a tornado tore through Springfield in 2011 and served as the backdrop for the project’s ceremonial groundbreaking last March.

MGM is building a casino, hotel and entertainment complex on 14.5 acres in downtown Springfield that it hopes to open in late 2018, a year later than originally expected.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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