By John Corriveau, Courtesy of School News Network 

Neal, Payne and Logie take the first symbolic demolition swings at a model replica of the school

Before demolition of the former City High/Middle School began recently, Grand Rapids Public Schools officials symbolically smashed up the building at 111 College Ave. NE.

Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal happily took a sledgehammer to a 4-foot-by-4-foot model replica of the building, in a June ceremony marking the end of that structure and the beginning of a new GRPS Central campus as part of the city’s Downtown Master Plan. She was joined in the pummeling by former Mayor John Logie and Jim Payne, president of the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association.  

Neal said demolishing the old building was a “non-negotiable” of her GRPS Transformation Plan, and righted the wrong of building a modern structure in 1972 over the objections of neighbors and historic preservationists. It was constructed by Kent ISD in cooperation with GRPS and the City of Grand Rapids, she said.

“The bottom line is we, GRPS, were simply not good neighbors,” Neal said in prepared remarks.

 

The former City High/Middle School building at 111 College Ave. is scheduled for demolition in JulyThe former City High/Middle School building at 111 College Ave. is scheduled for demolition in July
The school’s modern design conflicted with Heritage Hill architectural stylesThe school’s modern design conflicted with Heritage Hill architectural styles
Colorful houses are located across the street from the schoolColorful houses are located across the street from the school
Former Grand Rapids mayor John Logie spoke about the objections of Heritage Hill residents to the school designFormer Grand Rapids mayor John Logie spoke about the objections of Heritage Hill residents to the school design
School Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal made it one of her goals to remove the buildingSchool Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal made it one of her goals to remove the building
Jim Payne of the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association said it was very satisfying that the building would be torn downJim Payne of the Heritage Hill Neighborhood Association said it was very satisfying that the building would be torn down
Neal, Payne and Logie take the first symbolic demolition swings at a model replica of the schoolNeal, Payne and Logie take the first symbolic demolition swings at a model replica of the school
Logie’s grandson, Matthew Giffin, with the help of Joe Reed, a public school teacher, took his turn swinging the demolition ball at the modelLogie’s grandson, Matthew Giffin, with the help of Joe Reed, a public school teacher, took his turn swinging the demolition ball at the model
Mission accomplishedMission accomplished
Cake and soft drinks were offered to the crowd. Neal said she would have 			liked to have had the building imploded, but that wasn’t safe for the neighborhoodCake and soft drinks were offered to the crowd. Neal said she would have liked to have had the building imploded, but that wasn’t safe for the neighborhood