Although class bells have not rung through Westport High School’s halls in almost 12 years, the buzz from interior demolition now fills the blighted structure with a $52.2 million multifamily conversion formally underway.

Workers began construction in early April on the Apartments at Westport Commons, which will remake the four-story former school at 315 E. 39th St. with 138 workforce housing apartments and 24,000 commercial square feet.

Spearheading the project on behalf of local entity HP Development Partners 2 are Andrew Brain of Brain Group and Chip Walsh of Mercier Street LLC.

“This project takes a historic building with a rich and vibrant history and restores and revitalizes it so it may contribute to future generations,” Brain said.

After awaiting final financing approvals for close to a year, the team in late March closed on a $27.2 million construction loan from New York-based Dwight Capital LLC, backed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to Jackson County property records.