GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) — More than 400 community members showed up to say goodbye to the old Kensington School building on the southwest side of Grand Rapids Thursday evening.

The building is located in the Black Hills neighborhood and is nearly 100 years old. Grand Rapids Public Schools leaders decided to take the building down and restore green space to the area. District leaders and the Board of Education made this decision after garnering extensive feedback from the community on offers to purchase the building.

GRPS held a final public walkthrough of the building which brought back memories for some of those who once attended Kensington School.

In the years since the building closed as a school, the site had become a significant cost for the district and posed a safety concern as vandals broke into the site. Restoring the building for any use would’ve cost millions to bring the building up to modern codes.

GRPS is hopeful in the long term future that the site might be attractive to a community partner interested in utilizing the space in a way that benefits the school system and is welcomed by the community as a whole.

In the immediate future, the property will feature space for recreation and will be beautified with wildflowers.

The process of taking down the building on the site will begin in early October.