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Former students tour St. Michael before it's torn down

(WJRT)
Published: Dec. 18, 2016 at 8:17 PM EST
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(12/18/16) - A building that's been a pillar of service in the Flint community for decades will soon be torn down.

Former students and friends of St. Michael School had one last chance to walk through the halls and remember a much different time.

You can still hear sounds echoing in classrooms and throughout the halls of what used to be St. Michael Catholic School.

These voices though, aren't those of anxious school children starting the day, but of alumni saying goodbye.

"It's meant a lot to a lot of people. After St. Michael's moved and Powers opened it was also schools of choice here. So there's another 37 years of education that went on in this building after it was a catholic school," said Mary Stevenson, the director of Catholic Charities Center for Hope.

Catholic Charities Center for Hope is now in charge of the structure.

Stevenson says it's going to be a big change not seeing the late 1920s building in downtown Flint and alumni agree.

"I want to cry cause it was, you know, part of your life. I grew up here," said Margaret Salinas, a member of the last class at St. Michael.

Salinas walked through the halls Sunday with her daughter, recounting special moments that helped make her who she is today.

Others like Gordon McCann, class of 1960 did the same. "Well it's nostalgia. You remember a lot of things that happened, all the things you did. Some were good. Some were dumb. Glad you don't have to relive those," he said.

Not everyone who has benefited from St. Michael was a student here, but some were, at one point, in after school programs or members of the church.

"We always come back to St. Mike's. My wife and I, Amy, got married here at St. Mike's in '88, so yeah, this is a big part of our life," said Roger Savage.

With asbestos now identified in the older portion of the building, Stevenson says tearing it down makes sense.

"It would have been nice if we found partners at some point to take on the additional portions but we're looking to be the right size for what we're doing and the people we serve, and this is the right answer for that," Stevenson said.

The portion of St. Michael built in 1953 will still remain.

Catholic Charities has plans to renovate it and attach a piece of the old building to it.

There's no word yet on an exact date for the demolition.

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