Demolition has started on part of the sprawling Harbison-Walker plant at 1301 Westminster Ave. in Fulton.
Dave Keller, manager of the Harbison-Walker plant, said about 250,000 square feet of the building - the middle portion of the south end of the plant - will be demolished.
Two smaller buildings will be created by saving the north and south portions of the affected area in the large building.
Keller said the demolition work is expected to be completed sometime in April of 2013. The demolition work has been contracted to NCM Co. of Houston.
The plant now has a rotary kiln used to create vitreous silica aggregate, which is a specialized product used in the firebrick manufacturing process. The plant's current operations will continue during the demolition process.
Keller said not as much space is needed at the facility because it no longer is used to manufacture firebrick. That activity ended in 1982.