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GRDadof3

137 Year Old Historic Saint Andrew's School Slated to be Demolished

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Sounds like plans are moving forward to create the "campus" connection between Saint Mary's main hospital building and the cathedral, Diocese and Catholic Central campus. It's too bad that it includes tearing down the old school. I assume it's following along the lines of these plans? (as I haven't seen anything on the city's website yet).

It will also include demolishing the Eerdman's building at the corner of Maple and Jefferson, and vacating Maple into a "plaza."

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A Facebook page has been set up to raise support to save Saint Andrew's School. I've seen the plans, and I don't quite get the idea of a big open plaza between the cathedral and the hospital. Who will be traveling that? The two new buildings on Jefferson are nice, but they don't need to lose the school to build those.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=154748114579745

http://www.dioceseofgrandrapids.org/Documents/Cathedral%20Square/110131_Maple_Street_plans.pdf

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A Facebook page has been set up to raise support to save Saint Andrew's School. I've seen the plans, and I don't quite get the idea of a big open plaza between the cathedral and the hospital. Who will be traveling that? The two new buildings on Jefferson are nice, but they don't need to lose the school to build those.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=154748114579745

http://www.dioceseofgrandrapids.org/Documents/Cathedral%20Square/110131_Maple_Street_plans.pdf

Just another shoddy attempt of cloning a European plaza in the U.S.. And like the hacks that we have here, they take down a building to do it, and stick a parking lot next to it.

Of course to pull the big con on the city, which seems far too easy these days, they try to soften this disaster with plans for a mythical "future" building and by including the equally fictitious office buildings next to St. Mary's. Neither of which will be built in the next 8-10 years.

The big joke is whether the city is dumb enough to fall for it yet again.

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Is there really any doubt the city will fall for it? To be fair, the Eerdman's building doesn't exactly look like a huge loss.

The big joke is whether the city is dumb enough to fall for it yet again.

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what l don't understand is why they need to be connected in the first place. are that many people being rushed from church services to the hospital?, or is it to encourage people leaving church to visit people in the hosptial. they should just develop it with some retail or condos and if they need more parking, build a garage. I don't even think that it is a good use of green space because it is mostly parking with some trees to soften it up. a glorified parking lot to connect the two.

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Yeah, I don't get this at all. There's enough space behind the cathedral already that they could spruce up to make a decent plaza. St. Andrew's would add to the look of the plaza, not detract from it. You knock down St. Andrew's, the view behind the cathedral will just remind you how much of that area is parking, parking, parking. St. Andrew's is not in the way, it's where it needs to be. Why spend so much money just to tear it down?

"Glorified parking lot" is right. I can't believe the diocese would throw away its money like this.unsure.gif

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The purpose of the demolition is to develop the property into a streetscape with medical offices, retail and residential.

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The purpose of the demolition is to develop the property into a streetscape with medical offices, retail and residential.

And the chances of that happening? 0%. Maybe medical offices and parking lots.

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The purpose of the demolition is to develop the property into a streetscape with medical offices, retail and residential.

The demolition of Eerdman's, sure I can see that, but demo of the school? Unnecessary. A plaza surrounded by parking lots is just another parking lot (w/o cars in it).

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A Facebook page has been set up to raise support to save Saint Andrew's School. I've seen the plans, and I don't quite get the idea of a big open plaza between the cathedral and the hospital. Who will be traveling that? The two new buildings on Jefferson are nice, but they don't need to lose the school to build those.

By the way, do you know anything about these buildings? I think they'll help the area a lot. Are there any plans in the works yet, beyond the fact they'll apparently be L-shaped? Or what will go in them?

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By the way, do you know anything about these buildings? I think they'll help the area a lot. Are there any plans in the works yet, beyond the fact they'll apparently be L-shaped? Or what will go in them?

Nope. Just that site plan.

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It mentions there used to be a 4th floor. I just can't picture what that'd look like. Is there a photo somewhere of the building when it had four floors?

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Article in today's paper

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/02/last_gasp_effort_seeks_to_stop.html

"Where were they?" asked the PR flack hired by the diocese. That quote doesn't hold the church in the best light.

Wow, the cocky statements on behalf of the Diocese are appalling.

He suggested that if the city holds up the demolition, they would be “sending a message to anyone trying to improve their neighborhood that the rules can be changed.”

“The church is trying to be a good neighbor to the city and we hope the city will be a good neighbor to us,” Geaney said.

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Article in today's paper

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2011/02/last_gasp_effort_seeks_to_stop.html

"Where were they?" asked the PR flack hired by the diocese. That quote doesn't hold the church in the best light.

seems like a pretty reasonable question though. If you are planning something for 5 years and making no attempt to disguise your plans to demolish a building yet just before it's imminent destruction the city puts a halt to it. seems a bit unfair to the diocese. I don't really see the point in preserving the school either. according to the article very little is original. just because there is a tradition, doesn't mean that there is a need to keep it.

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seems like a pretty reasonable question though. If you are planning something for 5 years and making no attempt to disguise your plans to demolish a building yet just before it's imminent destruction the city puts a halt to it. seems a bit unfair to the diocese. I don't really see the point in preserving the school either. according to the article very little is original. just because there is a tradition, doesn't mean that there is a need to keep it.

They didn't make their plans to demolish the school public until just recently. In fact, the school still housed students up until last Summer. They only announced its closing last February, and never mentioned demolition:

http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/02/st_andrews_catholic_school_in.html

The only thing I can think of that they've been working on for five years are some pipe dreams of turning the whole Saint Mary's area into a new urbanism campus, after they demolish everything first.

I hope the HPC is able to put a stop to it.

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Five years ago the master plan did not show the school being demoed.

StMarysAxial_jpg.jpg

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These links make interesting reading: A quick check of UP history shows we've been the demo for a while now, but nothing speaks of any official word coming from the diocese until this month.

I had to check old threads after reading the spokesperson's quote because it didn't sound right, and I'm certain she's in error - yes, several different plans for the plaza have been talked about over five years, but none of them involved tearing down the school. It would be impossible, since the diocese only announced the school's closing a year ago.

Sure, it's not a significant building, but it's one of those characteristically Heartside buildings, and we're running out of them... Personally, I go back and forth as to whether it's worth keeping. If there was a plan for something for something better in its place, it wouldn't bother me that much; sadly, that plaza doesn't do anything for me.

But what do I know, I'm not the bishop... YET.shades.gif

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These links make interesting reading: A quick check of UP history shows we've been the demo for a while now, but nothing speaks of any official word coming from the diocese until this month.

I had to check old threads after reading the spokesperson's quote because it didn't sound right, and I'm certain she's in error - yes, several different plans for the plaza have been talked about over five years, but none of them involved tearing down the school. It would be impossible, since the diocese only announced the school's closing a year ago.

Sure, it's not a significant building, but it's one of those characteristically Heartside buildings, and we're running out of them... Personally, I go back and forth as to whether it's worth keeping. If there was a plan for something for something better in its place, it wouldn't bother me that much; sadly, that plaza doesn't do anything for me.

But what do I know, I'm not the bishop... YET.shades.gif

Nice work RegalTDP. Whenever large scale projects are planned, there are always a lot of hypothetical plans drawn up and shown around the city. That does not equal 5 years of notice. The clock starts when you actually enter the public input phase (or it should) and actually have your plans finalized enough to apply for work to be done.

Did they submit the plans showing Saint Andrew's being torn down to the HPC 5 years ago? Or even a year ago?

And why is it that Seyferth always seems to be on the wrong side of everything?

This plan also doesn't show it:

327274301_932a1ab0ff_b.jpg

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Carefully read the press releases, the news articles and the quotes that have described this endeavor over the last week.

There is absolutely nothing there that is leading toward compelling urbanism, making this a better place or improving the neighborhood.

Here are some of the quotes:

"create greater pedestrian access points to all areas of the two campuses and throughout the neighborhood”.(Quoted from woodtv.com article from February 5, 2011)

The walkable connections that exist in this area are, in many places, tenuous at best because of the continued loss of meaningful and complete urban fabric. Wide swaths of open space represented by parking lots, ill-conceived plazas and haphazard, anti-urban green space have made this area barren and generally hostile to pedestrians – effectively severing any sense of walkable connection. This is not by accident, but rather the result of years of the same kind of planning that is being proposed with this plan - the removal of buildings to make plazas, parking lots and open space. They have veiled this proposal in creating better walkability and connection, when in fact it is nothing more than urban renewal 2011.

Walkability and the pedestrian experience are about having a connection between two points that is defined by buildings which are scaled and detailed in a manner that makes the experience enjoyable, interesting and safe. You can not make the connection better, particularly in this area, by removing buildings.

"turn these disconnected blocks with buildings into a real campus”. (Quoted from woodtv.com article from February 5, 2011)

Where are the disconnected blocks!? The only disconnected blocks are the ones that they have created by closing Sheldon from Maple to Goodrich and replacing it with a plaza and raingarden...neither of which have made the urban fabric better or more connected. If they really care about reconnecting disconnected blocks, then reopen Sheldon and get rid of the raingarden that looks like it was imported and abstracted from the north woods.

"would create an unobstructed view across several acres of land stretching along Jefferson and Maple streets” (quoted from Rapid Growth Article February 17, 2011)

Just what we need, more unobstructed views across several acres. You know like a farm field. This is not how you create connection.

Look at their plans. Plazas next to parking lots. No physical definition, just unobstructed views and parking bliss. The L-shaped buildings are an afterthought...a bone that they are throwing out there that might happen...but don't even show up in the rendering.

Urban plazas are good things, but not when they stretch over several city blocks and are surrounded by parking lots.

The first thing they need to do is keep this building and use it as a building block to make this place better. The second thing they need to do is actually walk this area and compare it to the places that are walkable and then attempt to replicate the attributes that make those places walkable. The third thing they need to do is hire a PR consultant who actually understands what is going on.

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.. And why is it that Seyferth always seems to be on the wrong side of everything?

I was thinking the same thing. Not to get too far off track but isn’t this the same “PR flack” that was an active participant in the Meijer Acme fiasco:

PR ETHICS

I know she’s everywhere but she wouldn’t be my first choice as spokesperson for my church. The fact that she is involved at all is a red flag all by itself.

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Carefully read the press releases, the news articles and the quotes that have described this endeavor over the last week.

There is absolutely nothing there that is leading toward compelling urbanism, making this a better place or improving the neighborhood.

Here are some of the quotes:

"create greater pedestrian access points to all areas of the two campuses and throughout the neighborhood”.(Quoted from woodtv.com article from February 5, 2011)

The walkable connections that exist in this area are, in many places, tenuous at best because of the continued loss of meaningful and complete urban fabric. Wide swaths of open space represented by parking lots, ill-conceived plazas and haphazard, anti-urban green space have made this area barren and generally hostile to pedestrians – effectively severing any sense of walkable connection. This is not by accident, but rather the result of years of the same kind of planning that is being proposed with this plan - the removal of buildings to make plazas, parking lots and open space. They have veiled this proposal in creating better walkability and connection, when in fact it is nothing more than urban renewal 2011.

Walkability and the pedestrian experience are about having a connection between two points that is defined by buildings which are scaled and detailed in a manner that makes the experience enjoyable, interesting and safe. You can not make the connection better, particularly in this area, by removing buildings.

"turn these disconnected blocks with buildings into a real campus”. (Quoted from woodtv.com article from February 5, 2011)

Where are the disconnected blocks!? The only disconnected blocks are the ones that they have created by closing Sheldon from Maple to Goodrich and replacing it with a plaza and raingarden...neither of which have made the urban fabric better or more connected. If they really care about reconnecting disconnected blocks, then reopen Sheldon and get rid of the raingarden that looks like it was imported and abstracted from the north woods.

"would create an unobstructed view across several acres of land stretching along Jefferson and Maple streets” (quoted from Rapid Growth Article February 17, 2011)

Just what we need, more unobstructed views across several acres. You know like a farm field. This is not how you create connection.

Look at their plans. Plazas next to parking lots. No physical definition, just unobstructed views and parking bliss. The L-shaped buildings are an afterthought...a bone that they are throwing out there that might happen...but don't even show up in the rendering.

Urban plazas are good things, but not when they stretch over several city blocks and are surrounded by parking lots.

The first thing they need to do is keep this building and use it as a building block to make this place better. The second thing they need to do is actually walk this area and compare it to the places that are walkable and then attempt to replicate the attributes that make those places walkable. The third thing they need to do is hire a PR consultant who actually understands what is going on.

Couldn't have said it better myself. My bet is that they don't want to sell the school and have it be a use that they can't control, like (the horror!) condos with young unmarried and gay people co-habitating and partying. But I'm just spit-balling (based on 40 years of being Catholic).

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Couldn't have said it better myself. My bet is that they don't want to sell the school and have it be a use that they can't control, like (the horror!) condos with young unmarried and gay people co-habitating and partying. But I'm just spit-balling (based on 40 years of being Catholic).

I'd guess they don't think they could sell it in a timely manner, or they'd have to let it go for a song based on how much remodeling it would require.

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What if it operated it as a hospitality house in partnership with St. Mary's. I don't think St. Mary's has built the one next to Lacks in the last graphic yet. Maybe have the nuns staff it. It's close to the church, if the occupants have any Catholic needs, and only about 3 blocks from the hospital.

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I'd guess they don't think they could sell it in a timely manner, or they'd have to let it go for a song based on how much remodeling it would require.

It's only costing them $3000/month now. Selling it gets them more money than what they'd pay to tear it down.

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