Cass Tech Teardown Begins

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.

  • Justin

    Another example of a lack of love for the historic and monumental buildings of Detroit. Why do they keep tearing down such historic places when it would be worth so much more to posterity if they were maintained?

  • Regina (CT c/o 1994)

    The old Cass Tech building was not an “eye soar” it was a landmark filled with memories. There are so many great success stories that came from people who walked its halls. I am truly devastated that the people of Detroit could not find some way to preserve it. This truly breaks my heart. Of all the vacant schools in Detroit, how did Cass Tech become among the first to be torn down…? I agree with Justin, Cass Tech was one of Detroit’s historic and monumental buildings.

  • Nadia

    Shame on Detroit! There are other buildings that clearly are eyesores. But not this one!

  • CB

    And to see all that was left behind with the move to the new school. It was like the people in charge at the time set the stage of just washing their hands of the place because they had a new, shiny toy next door!

    Though I am not from Detroit, I can appreciate history and wonderful architecture. When I saw all of the graphic design items left behind- just for starters- I was disgusted. The age of computers has virtually obliterated all of those tools that should be given more respect and preserved in a museum at the least! Not all communities have an institution teaching the skills like Cass Tech for its community. What shameful waste especially with an alum sitting in the mayor’s chair when this school was just left to rot!!!!!

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