Some of the items which had been in the Red Brick Schoolhouse remained until demolition claimed them — books, doors, cork boards and more. It all was cleaned away during the demolition project. —Photos By Wally Geist
Some of the items which had been in the Red Brick Schoolhouse remained until demolition claimed them — books, doors, cork boards and more. It all was cleaned away during the demolition project. —Photos By Wally Geist
ST. GERMAIN — After asbestos removal was restarted due to the discovery of additional hazardous material, and removal of windows and doors, demolition of the historic Red Brick Schoolhouse in St. Germain began in earnest last week.

C&D Excavation of Merrill was on the scene with machinery and dump boxes ready to haul away the broken pieces of the building and bricks.

The event drew some spectators, including David Weber of St. Germain, who recounted entering the building as a grade school student and how the arch with leaded glass had once welcomed students to the building. He remarked that the excavator was, at one point, in what had been the building’s library.

Weber went on to say that as long as his family has owned the grocery store located on the corner of highways 70 and 155, the Red Brick Schoolhouse was part of the view out the front window. 

The new view will be dramatically different, as the area which had been occupied by the school will be filled and graded to be used as a parking lot — at least for the time being.

Mary (Gensler) Miller, who was also a student at the school, garnered eight bricks from the pile. She expressed gratitude for having a keepsake.

Tom Martens, a long-time supporter of keeping the historic schoolhouse for town purposes, was disappointed to see the building demolished.

“This town board can now pat itself on the back. It can be known as the town board that took the heart out of St. Germain,” said Martens, St. Germain town clerk. “I drove through town this afternoon and there is nothing anymore that makes it a town. The center of it is gone. Now the ground will become another parking area for the flea market.

“So, instead of having the town office space and meeting room space that the town board promoted all this past year with its three building project proposals, the residents of St. Germain will have nothing,” said Martens. “The town board will have spent upwards of $180,000 with all of the facility studies and the demolition of the Red Brick Schoolhouse, with nothing to show for it but a parking lot. Hats off to the town board.”

The decision of what to do with the Red Brick Schoolhouse has been a thorn in the side of many St. Germain Town Board members for nearly 20 years.

Many ideas have been brought forth and discarded throughout the years, including two multimillion dollar plans which were rejected by town voters in 2018.

The most recent failed plan came when electors defeated the proposed $2.6 million remodeling project at a special electors meeting in May, with 265 voting against and 112 in support of renovating.

The proposal for the schoolhouse renovation in­cluded a full-size elevator, additional bathrooms on the upper level, saving and refinishing the upper level floors, replacement of electrical circuits and supply, replacement and additions to the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, a new parking area, and storm water runoff retention areas.



News-Review Editor Gary Ridderbusch contributed to this article.