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School Is Out? Hold Those Wrecking Balls For A Minute | Arts & Culture

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School Is Out? Hold Those Wrecking Balls For A Minute
School Is Out? Hold Those Wrecking Balls For A Minute
A guest editorial by Elizabeth Hoffman Ransford

If you lived in Grand Rapids during the 1980s and 1990s, chances are you have heard of St. Andrew's School, an inner-city Catholic school dedicated to cultural diversity and academic excellence -- as they liked to say, "a miracle in the heart of Grand Rapids."

Today, the St. Andrew's school building is under threat of demolition to complete the $22 million "Cathedral Square" development promoted by the Catholic Diocese of Grand Rapids. Recently, the Historic Preservation Commission voted to recommend the creation of a study committee to evaluate the historic significance of the school. Last week, the City Commission voted to consider this proposal at a joint meeting with the Planning Commission on March 22, when both commissions will invite public comment on the issue and vote on a possible moratorium on demolition.

I will be there on March 22 to speak against the demolition of St. Andrew's School.

I believe that the St. Andrew's School building should be saved. While I have powerful memories about my own experience attending St. Andrew's in the 1980s, this issue is not about personal nostalgia. Instead, the demolition of St. Andrew's School raises much bigger issues about the preservation of our city's cultural heritage, about fiscal and environmental responsibility and finally, about creating an urban vision to guide downtown Grand Rapids into the rest of the twenty-first century and beyond.

Historic buildings are our collective cultural heritage. They give richness to the fabric...

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