DETROIT (WWJ) – The first phase of demolition of Detroit’s historic Cass Technical High School is underway.
WWJ’s Florence Walton, a Cass Tech graduate herself, reported that alumni gathered at the school, Wednesday morning, to take pictures as teardown got underway on the 1980s addition to the building.
Among them was Dr. Stacy Smith, a graduate of the class of 1993.
“Cass Tech meant so much to me. It’s the foundation of my education and my success. The ability to attend a high school with a specialized curriculum really helped a student like me who was pretty focused and knew I wanted to be a physician,” Smith said.
“It change my life,” said 1963 graduate Mitchel Moore.
“I was able to go to college because of Cass. I didn’t have the money here; I was a poor guy from the east-side of Detroit. It kind of raised my level of conciseness. I went to school, became a pharmacist,” Moore said.
Shaffwan Ahmed, 22, is a proud 2007 grad.
“I don’t know what just keeps attracting me back to the old building. I just love taking a picture of it when I drive by, looking at it,” Ahmed said.
“I just brings back so many memories to me, and it just amazes me to see how long it’s been up and how many people passed through these same hallways as me, and the futures they had and what they’ve done with their lives,” he said.
Demolition crews, Wednesday, began work on the extension built at the school in 1981 that housed the cafeteria and the athletic wing. In June, they’ll begin the tear down of the rest of the 90-year-old building.
Construction began in 2002 on the new Cass Tech, located directly north of the old building. During the 2005–2006 school year, Cass Tech faculty, students and staff moved into the new building.
In December of 2009, the old school was listed among fourteen vacant buildings slated for demolition under a $33 million plan unveiled by the Detroit Public Schools. The $3 million teardown cost is being paid for with bond construction funding approved by voters.
“Vacant schools across Detroit have been blights on the community and safety hazards for far too long,” said DPS Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, in a statement. “Thanks to the taxpayers of Detroit … we can now move forward with substantially changing the landscape of the city and remove these long-standing eyesores,” he said.
What do you think about the demolition of Cass Tech? Do you have memories of the old school? Comment below.