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Old St. Michael school building faces demolition

DEMOLITION of the old St. Michael School on Findlay’s Adams Street will begin Monday. The school, owned by St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, has been empty for about two years. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

DEMOLITION of the old St. Michael School on Findlay’s Adams Street will begin Monday. The school, owned by St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, has been empty for about two years. (Photo by Randy Roberts)

By MARGARET DWIGGINS
Family Editor
The former St. Michael School on Findlay’s Adams Street will meet with the wrecking ball next week.
The school, owned by St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church, has been empty for about two years.
St. Michael vacated the building in 2006 after opening a new school on Bright Road. It leased the building to Faith Academy from 2008-2012, until Faith Academy closed. Last fall, Apex Church in Marion leased the building with plans to open a church there, but abandoned those plans after a fire that started in an air conditioner over Labor Day weekend damaged the building.
“In one sense it’s a shame, and in another sense it’s a huge relief to not have to have these buildings as a liability around your neck,” said Monsignor Michael Hohenbrink, pastor of St. Michael the Archangel Church.
The school had a long history in Findlay. It was founded in 1859, when classes were held in St. Michael Church. That church was destroyed by a fire that started in a classroom in 1866, and a new church was built at the corner of Western Avenue and West Main Cross Street later that year.
The school on Adams Street, across the street and to the west of the church, was built in 1894. In 1914, it was remodeled to include living space for the Sisters of Charity, a religious order that provided teachers for the school for many decades. They lived on the third floor, with classrooms on the first and second floors.
The nuns moved to a convent that was built across the street from the school in the 1950s, and the school was remodeled and expanded. It expanded again in the 1960s, with the newer part extending to the west of the original structure.
The parish bought property on Bright Road in the 1960s, opening a second church and a primary school there. Classes for students in grades four through eight remained at the Adams Street school until a new school on Bright Road, for grades kindergarten through eight, was completed in 2006. At that time, the school on Adams Street was the oldest operating school in Findlay.
The downtown school also housed St. Michael’s parish offices until they were relocated to the Bright Road campus.
Hohenbrink said the decision to demolish the old school was not easy for sentimental reasons, but after the fire last fall it made more sense to let it go. Repairing the fire damage would have been costly enough, but the building was also in need of extensive repairs and maintenance on its plumbing, heating and electrical systems.
“I say we had it for several years, and we have appreciated having it, but it’s time to move on,” Hohenbrink said.
The parish will keep the property, about 3 acres, Hohenbrink said. It has been leased for the next two years to Alvada Construction, which is using it to park equipment during Marathon Petroleum Corp.’s downtown construction project.
Alvada Construction workers are also using the property for parking, and are bused daily to the construction site.
Demolition will begin Monday, starting at the newer section on the west end. Hohenbrink said demolition will take about eight to 10 days, and another two weeks or more to haul the rubble away.
Dwiggins: 419-427-8477 margaretdwiggins@ thecourier.com

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