Concerns over history in Motherhouse demolition

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — A controversial plan to demolish several buildings at the former Nazareth College campus in Kalamazoo inched closer to reality Monday night.

The Kalamazoo Planning Commission called for a review of the site plan (PDF), which includes the demolition of five buildings on the former campus at Nazareth and Gull roads on the northeast side of town. The building at the center of the controversy is the Nazareth Center, commonly known as the Motherhouse. Dating back to 1897, it is the original building on campus.

But the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph doesn’t have a need for the 237,000-square-foot building after putting up a assisted living center nearby for its sisters.

On Monday, planning commissioners asked about preserving as much history as possible as the sisters look to “deconstruct” the building.

“Part of our deconstruction is so that was can save our historical elements,” Sister Pat Warbritton of the congregation explained. “Some of them will move into the new building. Some of the statues will move out on to the grounds. We have an archive, so it is our intent that everything will be reused as much as possible on our site or someone else’s.”

>>Online: Diocese of Kalamazoo on deconstruction

The updated site plan goes back to the site plan review committee for final approval.

There are no plans for the land after the buildings are torn down.

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