GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids Public School Board special committee recommended rejecting three companies’ proposals of what to do with the old Kensington School.

One of the proposals was to turn the site into a community re-housing facility for the unsheltered.

Monday night, community members spoke up in opposition to that proposal. 

The old Kensington School building, otherwise known as Adelante High School, has been vacant since 2004. Upkeep of the building has been costly. 

At Monday’s meeting, GRPS board members learned the vacant site has seen vandalism and trespassing, which reportedly led to seven arrests. 

“From an operational facilities standpoint, a considerable amount of break-ins in the building. Last month I think we had at least three and I think our concern is the amount of damage that is beginning to occur inside the building,” said Larry Johnson, chief of staff and executive director of public safety and school security at Grand Rapids Public Schools. 

With security and repairs, the officials said it’s a weekly run for them to maintain the building. Some people in the community were not in favor of one proposal to turn the building into a re-housing facility. 

“The idea of housing homeless people there … we really don’t want people sleeping in our yards,” said one person during public comment. 

Another neighbor mentioned the upkeep to their property being more difficult and a loss in property value. 

“Ours would only drop about $50,000 and that’s more than I want to happen,” one woman said. “I would rather see this historical nice building be leveled to the ground and a park space there for people in the neighborhood to enjoy.”

The board and committee listened to the community. 

“I heard that the neighborhood is vibrant with children. I heard concerns about any commercial use of the Kensington property because of the state of the roads and certainly the safety of children in the neighborhood,” said GRPS Treasurer Jen Schottke.

She said the district brought the committee a recommendation to reject the three proposals in favor of demolishing the Kensington School and using the land as green space. Although the special committee recommended demolition, the community will still have opportunities to weigh in.

“Next Monday we will have our work session where the public will again be able to come forward with their thoughts, dreams and visions for that space,” said Leon Hendrix, GRPS executive director of communications.

Another meeting will happen May 15 at Southwest Middle High School where community members can voice their opinions. A vote is expected to happen at that meeting.