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Demolition begins on former St. Paul church to make way for school expansion

August 13, 2019 06:37 PM

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Demolition is underway at the former St. Andrews church in St. Paul. 

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For more than a year, neighbors and former parishioners fought to save the church, but the courts opted not to support their efforts.

Before demolition began, crews found some of the heavy equipment vandalized as "don't do it" was spray-painted on the side of several items. Police are investigating.

Once the site is cleared, the Twin Cities German Immersion School will start building a new addition. The parish moved away from the neighborhood in 2011 and the building was later purchased by the school.

"The charm of our neighborhood is gone," said one woman who watched the building get demolished. "This should have never happened."

But in need of more space and safer facilities, the school decided a new chapter was best.

"It looks like a whole new school itself," said Luke Eenigenburg, a sixth-grader at the school.

As students at TCGIS, Luke and his brother Jakob are thrilled for the change.


Related stories:

Equipment vandalized ahead of scheduled demolition of former St. Paul church

Community rallies in last-ditch effort to save old St. Paul church from demolition


"Better classrooms, better rooms, better gym, new cafeteria," Luke Eenigenburg said.

The renderings of the new addition include an art room and an actual gym.

"Everyone's single-minded, we want the new building," said Jakob Eenigenburg, an eighth-grader at the school.

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But, the demolition was delayed multiple times as many in the community fought to keep the building standing.

"It's been really hard for everybody," said Diane Bell, who has two kids at the school.

Diane Bell is upset for her own son who will have already graduated by the time construction is complete.

"At this point, because of the delay, he won't get to enjoy the new building as an eighth-grader, so that's a bummer for him," Bell said.

People will disagree about whether or not demolition was a good idea, but as this community says goodbye to an old neighbor, many are eager for the future.

"The building is a beautiful building, nobody will deny that, but it's about the future and it's about what we can do, what's best for our kids," Bell said.

The new addition to the school should be open in about a year.

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Credits

Brett Hoffland

(Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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