Flint, MI— The Flint Community Schools Board of Education “hopes to demo” some vacant high schools, Board President Carol McIntosh wrote in a recent email, while nine other former elementary schools have been listed for sale on the district’s website.

The board may decide to demolish Central High School-Whittier Classical Academy, McIntosh wrote in an email to Ian Shetron, one of a number of developers interested in the property who call themselves the Harvard Group.

The email exchange was in regards to the Harvard Group’s potential plans to restore and repurpose Central-Whittier. Shetron said he had been in talks with Superintendent Anita Steward since October 2020 and had gotten permission to perform a structural engineering study on the site.

He said he had been trying to schedule a time to perform the study for months, but district officials took weeks to respond to his emails.

On Aug. 12, 2021, McIntosh emailed Shetron, saying Central-Whittier was not for sale.  

“As you may have heard the board say, we’ve voted to keep all high school sites. And when WE as a district decide to move forward with anything, it is our hopes to demo those buildings, so there is no need for the study of structures and added liability. Thank You!” McIntosh wrote.

In July 2021, board members resolved to sell some or all of the district’s 22 vacant properties as part of a plan to eliminate its staggering $18 million deficit.

The board officially opened bids to Flint residents during a board meeting Aug. 11. It is not clear when the board “voted to keep all high school sites.” Flint Beat reviewed recordings of past meetings and found no motion or vote on the matter.

At the Aug. 11 meeting, neither the board nor their real-estate attorney Gordon VanWieren specified which properties would be available. VanWieren said the board wanted to find interested parties first and then decide which ones to sell.

McIntosh, Interim Superintendent Kevelin Jones, VanWieren, and the district’s public relations firm Lambert did not provide a response by press time. 

Board members voted to list all available properties and their tax documents on the district’s website Aug. 11. At the meeting, VanWieren said the list would be comprehensive of all available buildings but not all properties listed would be for sale.

Board members did not say how they plan on choosing which properties to sell but have full legal power to decide, VanWieren said.

Nine properties have been posted online: Anderson Elementary, Bryant Elementary, Carpenter Elementary, Civic Park Elementary, Cook Elementary, Dort Elementary, Garfield Elementary, Johnson Elementary, and King Elementary.  

Building information, which includes a 2008 facilities study with estimated repair costs and tax records, is available for most of the properties listed.

Currently, bids are restricted to Flint residents, but the board will open it up to all investors next year, officials have said. Those interested can email Executive Assistant Monaca Elston at melston@flintschools.org with the subject line “Vacant Property for Sale” and their proposal.

Carmen Nesbitt

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...

12 replies on “Flint Board of Ed ‘hopes to demo’ vacant high schools, lists other buildings for sale”

  1. It’s about time! Central, my old school, should have been demoed YEARS ago! It continues to get worse with each day and month, So does Whittier. It is not worth being sold and neither are all the other too long closed schools. They just are embarrassments now that need to come down. Central is the oldest and will be 100 in 2022. Leave the race track alone. That is the only good thing left and still usable for jogging and biking. Central and Whittier have become dumping grounds and it looks sickening! Central was my school from 1980 to 1983 and it looked so much better than now. Time for it to come down! My memories of it will be forever though. You can’t demolish them!

      1. Karen,, it is not worth it. All the buildings are in extremely poor shape and not even worth considering selling. Would you buy them for a huge amount of money in such extremely poor and deteriorating shape, plus damage done by vandals and time for many years?? Of course not. The cost of repairing such extremely old buildings, like Central, would not be feasible. Too astronomical. It’s just not worth it and I agree with all the readers here. They are all vacant eyes sores and become hangouts for bad things we do not need. Central has become a big dumping ground also and it sucks! Tear down all the vacant schools and put something ne on the properties.

  2. I live directly across the street from Anderson School. The grounds are in poor condition. Trees growing along the fence makes it impossible to see the illegal activity going on in the park.At one time a family was living in the building
    Have complained many times but no results

  3. Anderson School and Northern school have been used for dumping grounds. It’s not in the view of the city so it’s not being maintained like the other buildings that’s open,but it’s still there and it’s a eyesore. Just because it’s closed there are children who live in the neighborhood and they play in the park

  4. They all should be demolished.
    Maybe some investors would be encouraged to bring New Ideas to these Sites, which would help beautify Our City. Flint needs To be Refreshed.
    Why not Community Parks, Community Gardens or A Community Center on some of these Sites, which would bring Communities together and alleviate some of the Crime. Old boarded up buildings are depressing attracts Negativity & Crime with No Positive Memories, but are reminders of What Once was. Having worked at Civic Park 35 Years ( a community of students & people I loved & gave much enjoyed energy to) A few Years ago
    Some of my now adult students encouraged me to drive by and see what has happened to our beloved Civic Park. The experience left me with negative sad feelings that began to overpower my pleasant historical memories. Let’s focus on Positivity for Flint. Maybe Name A Park, Center or something on a Site in memory of a Principal or allow people in the community to select a NAME. A Positive Focus could bring Community Ownership back to our Communities
    Impacting decrease in Crime.
    Let’s let go of what Once was.. and Focus on What CAN be

    1. Amen, Myra! You tell em! They all need to be demolished. The only good thing left at my high school, Flint Central, is the huge race track that people still use. I use it when I am there. Too many people think all these buildings can be restored and they just can’t. They have not been inside them to see the extreme damage done to them and it’s just not worth restoring. The costs would be too astronomical and the buildings are so very old and ruined. Time to let them go and focus on what could be. The past is over! Time to move on and put something new and better on the properties. They are all depressing eyesores that make me puke also! This does not represent our city! They need to go and NOW! They waited way too long already!

  5. Yes, let’s take care of the north side town and anything within the downtown viewing sight. Just let the south side go to hell where the majority of homeowners are making them the tax payers, as well. Forget that McKinley school is an eyesore for drug dealers and users, drunks, and vagrants to gather. Help your valuable asset-HOMEOWNERS and do something for the south side.

    1. Judith, they ALL need to come down. Not even worth trying to sell because they are all just huge piles of useless JUNK now that NO ONE in their right mind would buy. They are nothing but ugly eyesores now that are embarrassments to this city. They should have been demolished long ago. I too am sick of seeing them get worse! The cost of even trying to fix them is way too astronomical and just assinine to do so! Tear all of them down and put new things on the properties.

  6. Why spend the money to tear down Central High School? With the money Mott has given to Flint, sell the property to Mott College for a nominal fee. Let the college restore this iconic building and make it part of it’s greater campus. Take the cost of demolition and re-invest it in the occupied schools. No one thought the Durant Hotel could be saved. Food for thought.

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