2/17/2012

St. Peter & Paul School: Demolition

Cephas Buffalo, Inc. purchased the former St. Peter & Paul School from the Diocese of Buffalo in 2010.  The former Catholic elementary school, located at 807 Clinton Street (google map), sold for $100,000. 
Holy Apostles School - 660 Smith Street Buffalo, NY  
According to this Buffalo News story, demolition of the school building is expected to be completed by next week.
The City's Preservation Board approved the demolition of St. Peter & Paul's school in December 2011.  Ten days ago the City issued the demolition permit.  Records indicate that Cephas is paying $119,000 for the demolition.  
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A number of observers have told me that valuable materials including slate chalk boards, priceless woodwork and desks were destroyed and trucked to the landfill.  The cross that once adorned the school's entrance was found crushed yesterday (image below). 
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Cephas Buffalo is expanding its post prison ministry and plans to renovate the former parish rectory next door to the former school.  If you're not familiar with their mission this short video provides a good introduction to Cephas and the work of Franciscan Brother Michael Oberst.
Additional St. Peter & Paul School images are available in this flickr archive.
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6 comments:

Buffalo Resurrect said...

OK - Fine, I can accept the demolition of buildings BUT I cannot understand the WASTE when we have local companies willing to de-constuct for the same cost PLUS salvage valuable materials.

Sooo, WTF?

biniszkiewicz said...

as I understand it, this has entirely to do with wages paid. Because the reuse people don't pay high enough wages to qualify for public funds requirements, they can't get the jobs (and the jobs are too labor intensive if one deconstructs as opposed to simply demolishing).

Anonymous said...

@biniszkiewicz, that might be true about public contracts, but this was a private demo. Granted there might have been strings attached to the public funds they received, but at the very least they could have maximized their use of the resource, by going through it ahead of demolition removing black boards, doors, signage, etc. that could have been sold wholesale to vintage dealers. I'll bet you anything there was several thousand dollars worth of easily portable items that just got crushed and sent to the landfill.

Anonymous said...

I agree that more respect should have been shown to the school. Repurposing the beautiful woodwork, blackboards,desks, etc, should have been a priority before the demolishsion took place. A piece of history is forever gone for future generations to share. My father was a student and one of the first graduating classes of St Peter and Paul School. I can only wonder if the framed photos of early graduates that lined the first floor hall are also part of the landfill! Very heartbreaking. 1960 Graduate of St Peter and Paul..

Jules K said...

Does anyone reading this comment know what happened to the early graduation group photos hanging in the first floor hall of St Peter & Paul grammar school?

Anonymous said...

A little more information from the organization that bought the convent right next door to Holy Apostles Peter and Paul School. We wanted to purchase the school, restore it as a Catholic School. Word of that got out to the Edward Kmiec regime and one day we showed up for work at "The Blessed Mother's House" when we got there that day the demolition company had boarded up our windows. A call was placed to the police and the work had to stop, Eventually we made good relationship with the demolition company. But the story is even worse.

A member of the athletic club had taken us through the school before they let the place deteriorate and get trashed. Then things were ok. The Athletic club in the basement had a few giant TV's, a nice club room, bar, tables, a table game like pool-nice. I remembered that Peter and Paul had the biggest and best nativity set/manger on the east side. After 3 Kings day, we all went to church, said prayers, kissed the infant Jesus before it was put away for the year. Then the boys took it down and into storage. We were shown where the nativity set was stored. We told the diocese rep we wanted to buy it, but were told too wait until when we paid the final purchase price. When that happened, we were brushed aside.

At a later time, we were let us into the school. The room where the nativity set was totally empty. By then, there had been some leaks in some rooms, and scrappers were tearing out radiators. Earlier on, Iwe asked the pastor, if we could buy the pictures that used to hang in the hall of all the graduating classes. We later were told that those pictures had been taken to the basement of the rectory (which had a drive-in garage right under the brick rectory), there was a flood and they were all junked.

Later, when the demolition was in progress, we asked the demo company owner if we could have the pew fronts that were in the school. The people running the church, Peace Prints, had given us some of the pews. The company had to "check with the (Kmiec) diocese". The diocese said "ABSOLUTELY NOT! No church artifacts to her". But when the church building was sold for $10,000 or to the prison ministry, all the altars, some statues, and ALL the pews, were left in it. Luckily, some of these things were rescued before they were thrown out. But we,
Catholic lay people doing charity work were told NO.

My guess, is it cost $250,000 to $500,000 to demolish that school. It was the sturdiest, best built, most beautiful grade school on the east side though the church was a wood structure, the school was built like fort knox. It was a HUGE demolition job.


We have pictures of the trashed once beautiful classroom, water was let run in through a hole in the roof. One day, we saw water pouring in the building, looked like a pipe had broken. We immediately called the diocese and told them to get some one to pump the water out of the basement. We begged,the hardwood floors in the basement would be ruined. We were told "it's up to the pastor" "we don't interfere" We said, well tell him,he's never at the rectory. It was clear what was going on.
We had to show receipts & policies during our 'lease' period & every building had to be insured.

Those once amazing classrooms were trashed. What is even worse is that we had the experience, supplies, and know-how as we had run a private grade school, and wanted to open the doors to continue to give what we were given.