Waukesha — The former Northview Elementary/West Suburban Christian Academy, 1721 Northview Road, has been partially demolished, but the future of the property still isn't certain.
Residents noticed the demolition on on Tuesday, Nov. 29, and began a discussion that reached public status on Facebook. Mayor Shawn Reilly last week confirmed what residents saw and reported, adding that it was his understanding that only the older building was torn down but the newer building on the property will stay.
Reilly stressed the city was not involved in the razing of the private property. He said the property owners filled out a demolition permit on Sept. 20 and it was approved on Nov. 14. The city is only involved in ensuring the electrical, gas and sewer water is turned off.
"From what I know the old building was in bad shape," he said.
Past and future
The original building was constructed in 1898, with an addition put on in 1977, while still under the jurisdiction of the Waukesha School District.
The district later sold the property, and the Christian school did a lot of updates during its years of ownership. After the private school closed its doors in 2010, Waukesha State Bank took over control of the property which took over the deed for the property. It's currently owned by Conn Northview Prop LLC.
Hebron House of Hospitality also used the building as a homeless shelter in recent years.
Reilly is not sure what the property will be used for down the line. In the immediate future, The Salvation Army will be utilizing a portion of the space for holiday fundraisers.
Andy Smith, communications marketing outreach for Salvation Army Waukesha, said the organization has been graciously allowed to use a portion of the building for their Christmastime WAUK Salvation Army Toy Shop.
Reilly said he hasn't received any calls about the old building being razed, but he was aware of people on social media sharing pictures and comments.
Mary Jane Sanchez, owner of WurkHub in Waukesha, was running some errands when she noticed the old school being demolished. In the pictures she took, a chalkboard can be viewed around the gaping hole in the building.
Sanchez had a personal connection to the building. Her daughter was in the last graduating class at North View Elementary.
Sanchez said schools are designed differently now.
"Back then the schools were smaller, the new trend is to make them bigger," she said.
Sanchez admired the small community feel. She recalls when all neighborhoods had a small school the kids could walk to. She also said in a small school everyone knew each other.
On Sanchez's Facebook page was a number of comments under the pictures she snapped. Many remarked they were shocked it was razed and remembered attending the school. One person commented their childhood no longer exists.
Sanchez said for many residents there is a connection attached to the now rubble.
"It is personal for some of us," she said.