It tears me apart when old buildings are torn down. Schools especially. I love old school buildings.
A beautiful old school building in my neighborhood is slated for demolition. It has been vacant for the last year or two, and the public school system recently sold it to a private school system. This school was built in 1925, so it understandably would need major renovation. And the school is huge; it has much more space than the private school would ever need. So it only makes financial sense to tear it down and start over. But still, I hate to see it go.
Because they just don't build schools like this anymore.
Tell me that you wouldn't be inspired to learn after walking through this Byzantine entrance every morning.
And look at gorgeous detail between these windows. To the new school's credit, they are going to salvage and use as much of the old beauty as possible.
The kindergarten room in the elementary wing had a number of treasures. There was a large (about 12x5) built-in fish pond. It's dirty now, but I can just imagine it clean and sparkling, with the fountain flowing and the fish darting here and there. A lady who'd been a student there some 60 years ago remembered how her class had taken naps around the fish pond. Can you imagine how peaceful? Listening to the fountain and resting on your little mat...
There was also a fireplace in the kindergarten room. Kind of an odd element for a kindergarten room. It has the same mosaic tiles as the fish pond.
But if you look closely, you can see Dutch scenes in the tiles. A girl in wooden shoes walking over a dike. Dutch houses. A dog cart.
Here's another nod to Grand Rapids' Dutch heritage in the stained-glass window in one of the doors (the other door had a hallowe'en motif).
The drinking fountains were flanked in marble. The restrooms were marble, too. Apparently, students would organize impromptu quartets in those bathrooms, because the acoustics were fantastic.
There were these kinds of doors at the ends of the halls. I love those arched windows!
I wanted to take home ec when I was in school, but my school didn't offer it. This school had 8 little mini-kitchens. I can't believe I didn't get a picture of the adorable little under-the-counter vintage refrigerators. It was neat to hear people talk about their memories; one older man said as he walked through, "I made macaroni and cheese in this room! And I didn't burn it!"
Like I said, this place was huge. At one point it housed 2,000 students K-12. It's so large that at about a football field's distance away, I still couldn't get the whole thing in the frame (this is the back of the school). It's far too big for the new school, which I think will only have 300-400 students. But it was a beautiful, impressive structure while it lasted.
Rest in peace, old school.