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Demolishing Their Way to Being Better Neighbors

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.

Colorful houses are located across the street from the school
Colorful houses are located across the street from the school

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