GRPS, City Come Together for Betterment of Students

Agreement Creates Site for Future Museum High School

Mayor George Heartwell, left, and Board of Education President Tony Baker sign agreements deeding the old museum to GRPS

A historic agreement between Grand Rapids Public Schools and the City of Grand Rapids was signed with proclamations of celebration and hope for the city’s children.

The Grand Rapids City Commission and GRPS Board of Education met on Sept. 22 at the former Grand Rapids Public Museum, 54 Jefferson Ave. SE. They formally signed an agreement for the city to sell the building for $1 to GRPS as the future site of the Grand Rapids Public Museum High School. In exchange, GRPS agreed to sell Raspberry Field and a park on Ottawa Hills High School property, for $1 as well.

Mayor-elect Rosalynn Bliss and GRPS School Board member Nathaniel Moody enjoy a moment before the signing

The arrangement invoked an agreement made in 1937, when the school district deeded the property to the city on condition that it be used for museum purposes, and that it revert back to the schools if it ever stopped being used for that purpose.

GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal hailed it as “a wonderful day” for the city and its schools.

“What we’re doing today for children is huge. This museum belongs to these children,” she said, nodding to four Museum School students in the front row. “When we come together for our children, there’s nothing we cannot do in Grand Rapids.”

Mayor George Heartwell said the deal continues a long history of city-schools cooperation.

“There’s such a deep and persistent commitment to working together in these two bodies,” Heartwell said. “Nothing will turn that commitment around.”

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Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio.

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