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Long-vacant school building’s future still pending

Grand Rapids — Community members, businesses and organizations have less than a month to submit proposals for how they want to use or repurpose the Kensington building. 

Bids will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Feb. 1 regarding 1061 Kensington Ave. SW, in the Black Hills neighborhood. Bid materials can be delivered to 1331 Martin Luther King Jr. St. SE, or emailed to Alex Smart, executive director of facilities and operations, at SmartA@grps.org.

The Board plans to consider proposals for the building during their meeting that begins at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.

Smart instructed interested parties to visit the GRPS website and read the Notice of Conditions for more information about how to provide their bid. 

Before moving forward with a Board recommendation to demolish the long-vacant building, the district is seeking opportunities to work with the community to determine the future of a purchase or lease.

“In general, we are asking to provide a description for use and intent and some financial information to ensure whatever company we are considering has the means to complete a project,” Smart said. “We want to know how their proposed idea benefits the community and city as a whole, and we don’t want (Kensington) to remain vacant like it has for 17 years.” 

In December, the Board unanimously recommended for cost reasons leveling the former Adelante High School, which has been vacant since 2004. The decision was one of seven recommendations the Board approved as part of its Facilities Master Plan process.

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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