Demolishing of Old School Building

By: Tiffany Barnes

Although the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools Board of Education voted to demolish the 95 year old Community Education Center in March, 2017, demolition hasn’t moved forward and the City of Walled Lake has been reported to have filed a lawsuit against WLCSD (Walled Lake School District) to put a stop to the demolition.

Members of the community consider the building to be a historical site.  It was the site of Walled Lake High School from 1921 until 1957 and they also argue that the building holds cultural and economical value. “[The building is] considered by many members of the community to have historical, cultural and economic significance,” according to the Mayor of Walled Lake Linda Ackley in response to WLCSD who told Oakland Press.  

Most recently, the school district used the building to house many summer programs and afterschool programs for students who attend Walled Lake Schools, like Oakland Opportunity Academy. Senior Chris Maher attends Oakland Opportunity Academy (OOA), to continue his education at a different place. “Being here benefits me more than being at a regular high school. I like going to school in the afternoon, it gives me an opportunity to sleep in and work in the morning.” The students who attended the alternative school got moved because of the demolishing of Community high. This decision was made early in July.

The lawsuit discusses the new purpose of the building and how the district will pay for the demolishing. Judy Evola, Director of Community Relations and Marketing for Walled Lake Schools, said to the city board that the repairing of the community center will just add on to the financial struggles that the district already faces. Evola also said that the lawsuit will play a role with finances, too.  “The District is sad that this potential lawsuit will take even more dollars away from the classroom at a time when the District has nothing more to cut,” Evola told Ann Arbor News, August 28

Social studies teacher Laura Matousek said that she thinks it’s very sad that the building will be demolished. “It’s a shame that the building is being destroyed. It holds historical value in this district. I wish that both the district and the city could work out a plan to keep the Community Education Center.” History teacher Bob Meyer also said that the building should not be demolished. “I feel bad for all of the kids and teachers who work there. Not only will the former teachers be out of a job, but they will also have to leave something I think everyone enjoyed.” Science teacher Shelly Duk said that building is an icon for WLCSD. “I’ve been in this district for a while now and seeing the center go down is a sad moment for me in the time of me being here.”

With many concerns of members of the board, teachers, and parents, WLCSD will face a case that impacts the whole community. The outcome of the lawsuit will have advantages, disadvantages, both, or neither.

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