Excavator tears down walls, ceilings and floors of Terman Engineering Center

More than 99 percent of the materials that were used to build the iconic former home of the School of Engineering will be salvaged and recycled.

L.A. Cicero Piece of equipment tearing down Terman

The park planned for the Terman site is expected to open in the summer of 2012.

A rainbow appeared on the grounds of the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Center on Monday – a shimmer that extended from a pile of wet boards to the building's second story – as construction workers sprayed its crumbling walls with water.

Another worker, sitting in the cab of a long reach excavator, operated its thumb bucket as it nudged, grabbed and tugged the insides of the 34-year-old building, bringing down walls, ceilings and floors, as well as thick ropes of black rebar.

The building, which was dedicated in 1977, was named in honor of the late Frederick "Fred" E. Terman, a Stanford engineer, professor and administrator who died in 1982. His most famous protégés, William Hewlett and David Packard, founders of Hewlett-Packard Co., led the funding for the $9.2 million structure.

In Fred Terman at Stanford: Building a Discipline, a University, and Silicon Valley, historian C. Stewart Gillmor described how Terman raised "steeples of excellence" in the School of Engineering as dean, and throughout Stanford as provost, and fostered the academic, industrial and governmental relationships that helped transform Stanford into a world-class university and the region once known as "the valley of the heart's delight" into a globally admired nexus of innovation known as Silicon Valley.

Although the advanced deterioration of the exposed structural laminated wood beams was a leading factor in Stanford’s decision to raze the building, more than 99 percent of the materials that were used to create the five-story building, located on Panama Mall, will be salvaged and recycled. The building's Spanish clay roof tiles were removed last week – and carefully "palletized" by hand. Many of the red tiles will be used on the roof of the future Arrillaga Outdoor Education and Recreation Center, now under construction on Roble Field.

The Terman Center's popular rectangular fountain will remain in place as a centerpiece of the new landscape – a neighborhood park. Stanford has preserved three specialty light pole fixtures that once surrounded the fountain for the new park, which is expected to open in the summer of 2012.

"We set aside some of the heavy timbers to be turned into benches for the new park," said John Bransford, site supervisor for Devcon Construction Inc., the Milpitas company overseeing the demolition.

The Terman Engineering Library, once located inside the center, can now be found on the second floor of the Jen-Hsun Huang Engineering Center, the Engineering School's new home, which opened last year.