Lansing School Board votes to demolish, build new Mt. Hope

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A paper banner in the school says "Farewell."

Paige McCallum

Lansing’s Mt. Hope school opened in 1949. It is to be demolished in 2023 and replaced by a new school in 2027.

A $130 million bond was approved by voters in May to begin the demolition and rebuilding of four schools in the Lansing School District. One of these schools is the Mt. Hope STEAM school.

The Mt. Hope STEAM school opened in 1949. There are now plenty of irreparable building issues, including no air conditioning, a malfunctioning boiler room, inoperative bathrooms, as well as other structural problems.

Mt. Hope held a farewell gathering on Oct. 28 at the school. Among those in attendance were students, staff, alumni, and parents saying their goodbyes.

Kattie White, Lansing School District director of operations, was present at the gathering. White has been working for the school district for 10 years and values the safety of the children in the Lansing district.

“In operations, it takes a lot of effort to run a building like this. It takes a lot more love and care than maybe a newer building,” White said.

The Mt. Hope school will be demolished next year. The current students have been relocated to the previous Woodcreek Montessori school building.

Janet Scheetz taught at Mt. Hope for 37 years and shared how she felt about the demolition.

“It feels like a death. There’s so many memories here. We’ve had so many interactions with the community and families over the years,” Scheetz said.

Scheetz said that she loved everything about teaching at Mt. Hope. “We have wonderful kids, wonderful parents and a wonderful community.”

Elizabeth Jones, former principal at Mt. Hope was also present. Jones founded the STEAM Program during her time at Mt. Hope.

“I love teaching and I love kids. The most fun part was working with the kids and seeing the [STEAM] program start and ensuring that it’s an integral part of the school, and not just an acronym,” Jones said.

Jones is OK with the building’s demolition.

“This is a classic, old building with lots of charm and character, but it is totally outdated,”  Jones said.

Lolisha Aikens, former food service worker at Mt. Hope and mother, recounted what it was like working at the school and sending her two sons there over a decade ago.

“I don’t feel sad about it [the school] because I know they’re going to build a bigger and better one. The school was the same as it is now, my sons did get a good education and the teachers are the same,” Aikens said.

The exterior front of Mt. Hope STEAM Elementary in Lansing. Image credit: Paige McCallum

The construction of the new Mt Hope STEAM school will be completed in 2024.

Sheridan Road STEAM Magnet School, Willow Elementary School, and Lewton School will also be demolished within the next year.

The four schools are all expected to be rebuilt by 2027.

“I’m excited for the new generation to have a new school building,” Scheetz said.