Monday, March 16, 2009

Central's Call to Action

Abnstranger says:

Flint Central has been the victim of deferred maintenance for quite some time. Whether this is a symptom of construction dollars gleaming in the eyes of those who build the modern, soulless, unimaginative, flat-roofed, neo-con boxes or simply another circular firing squad maneuver by Flint's finest is not apparent. However, the direction of Flint should be toward historic restoration (Cmon fools, if tiny Dollar Bay, MI can do that for their high school, so can you!). Flint can be something other than an industrial wasteland and declining monument to dips that 'put all their (automotive) eggs in one basket and left the area. It's up to all of us who benefited from the schools, the largess of the Mott Foundation, excellent programs, parks, and more to stand up and kick some bore-o-cratic butt. Class of '66, and here to say, Everyone deserves quality education, arts, music and a beautiful campus. Everyone. Alumni, get your efforts up and going, because we owe it to do so! If nothing else, think of it as cheap insurance. We all live downstream from Flint's problems. Please, stop whining and sniffling about 'those good old days' and let's build some fine new ones.


  1. I was filled with nostalgia when I saw the Flint Central postcard on the blog. Central sat like a beacon at the end of Second Street which was a straight shot to downtown. As a member of the band my teacher Mr. Merrill appointed me to retrieve music he wanted which was stored in the tower. I always felt very important going to get it and then my English Lit class kicked in....didn't they keep Anne Boleyn in a tower? Just think, I learned that important bit of knowledge at Flint Central.(Class of 48) I agree with your writer that we should restore beautiful buildings and not replace with sterile cement boxes.

  2. While it would be nice to save Flint Central, one has to weigh the costs of renovating such a building versus simply building a new one. The entire second floor science wing is already a converted product of the original field house. As any student there knows, renovation is a poor substitute to a genuinely planned and constructed space.

    The point that both the original poster and Mr. Young fail to realize is that there need be no reason why any replacement be a "sterile cement box." The school district could easily commission a spacious design with a liberal use of glass to facilitate natural light. In times of tight budgets, spending a lot of money to get a building of duct tape and plaster seems like an awful waste compared to a modern, energy efficient space.

    I love Central as much as the next person but it’s not fair for me to see my childhood memories preserved at the expense of the students of today. Rob--Class of 2001.

  3. Yes, Rob, you could build a new beautiful structure in it's place. But the point is to preserve what we no longer can afford to build anymore.

    Structures like Central are just too expensive to build new. That's why when Ann Arbor's Law Quad needed to add on, they built underground. Perhaps that's what Central should do... just add on an addition underground. Am pretty sure I've already mentioned this in another thread, so I won't go on about Ann Arbor.

    I think Flint needs to start thinking creatively. Yes, it's more expensive to renovate. But it's also much more interesting. It may be too late for Flint to be interesting as they seem to prefer razing, but I could never recommend tearing down Central.

  4. About the science wing over the old field house... We used to sneak into the old pool complex on the unused first floor below the science wing and skate board during lunch. It was weird... looked like something out of a Freddy movie, untouched for more then 30 years with dust everywhere. Class of 87.

  5. Peter, that's awesome. Did you ever see the old track on the thrid floor?

  6. I hate to be a downer but....who will pay for any of this?

  7. Yea. Track looked like it was suspended from the ceiling with banked corners and railings that reminded me of plumbing pipe. Just like the track over the basketball courts @ the U of M Athletic Center.

    Hey Gordon,

    Here's a time waster... can you find a picture of the track?


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at