How do you say goodbye to a Darien school used since the ‘60s? With chalk, paint and tears.

DARIEN — In just a few weeks, the old Ox Ridge Elementary School building — a town staple since the 1960s — will come down for good.

When students return after the summer vacation, they’ll attend class in a brand-new building in its place, as the two-year-long construction project hits a major milestone this month.

The academic wing of the new school building is slated to be complete before school starts in August, with members of the building committee deeming it 96 percent finished at a June 15 meeting.

“Believe it or not, for all of the material delays you see around the country, we are in very good shape,” said Kip Koons, chair of the Ox Ridge building committee.

A process known as abatement — sweeping the site to remove hazardous materials — will start June 27. Demolition will likely happen in mid-July.

Work has been underway at the Ox Ridge site for more than a year, with students attending classes in the old building while workers have been building the new academic wing.

The project, which aims at replacing a building which town officials deemed out-of-date, will feature much larger buildings, interconnecting common learning space between clusters of classrooms and a courtyard.

A more traditional red brick building, it will replace the “California-style” architecture of the old building, Koons said.

“It's more traditional New England, like all the other schools in Darien,” Koons said. “It's more in keeping with our styles here.”

As of June, construction costs are at $50 million, of a total $63 million project, according to the building committee.

The academic wing itself will hold all the classrooms and will eventually house all of Darien’s Early Learning Programs, which cater to children under kindergarten age and children with special needs. Those programs are currently spread out among the town’s five elementary schools.

The assembly wing — the final portion of the new school — is slated for completion by August 2023, and will house the gymnasium, cafeteria and media center.

The new building was designed with an eye toward sustainability, said committee member Kadi Lublin, whose three children attended Ox Ridge.

For one, the school will be the first in the system to completely eliminate disposable items. Lublin said the new building will have dishwashers and reusable dishware. It will also incorporate solar panels.

Lublin said she is also excited for the learning commons, which will help collaboration outside the classroom and will offer space for breakout discussions and group work.

“Education has changed so much since — you know — the days of rows of desks and one teacher in front of a black or delivering education,” Lublin said.

At a colorful send-off celebration earlier this month, students decorated the old building with chalk paint to say goodbye before their old building comes down for good.

While there was some emotion about losing the old building, Lublin said most of the feedback she has heard about the new school is overwhelmingly positive.

“Kids today are under a lot of anxiety and pressure ... so we want to create a building that is welcoming, that is exciting,” Lublin said. “Hopefully kids want to be there and feel good. That's a good thing.”