St. Ignatius to tear down former school building

HOUGHTON – St. Ignatius Loyola Church in Houghton will be tearing down its former school building this summer after almost 20 years of disuse.

The church hopes to start on demolishing the building in August, said Bob Zimmerman, president of the church’s administration and finance commission. The site will be used for additional parking.

Zimmerman said the cost of upgrading the building was estimated at about $1 million. All new heating and roofing would be needed. Additionally, entering the building requires climbing up or down half a flight of steps, rendering it immediately handicapped-inaccessible.

“Because of the cost of maintaining it, and heating, we closed it,” Zimmerman said. “It’s been sitting there, getting old and it would need lots of repair.”

Built in 1911 as the school and monsignor’s residence, it continued as a school until 1970. It was kept open on a limited basis after that for smaller religious education classes, but was closed for good in 1995.

Zimmerman said the church plans to build a new catechetical center for youth. It will be located in a different spot on the church’s property.

“We have about three or four different options that we’re looking at,” he said. “Our intent would be to have it connected to the church structure itself.”

There’s no timetable on the new building yet, Zimmerman said. They’re looking at three or four options for the location. He called the new facility “the parish’s biggest priority.”

“Once we make a final decision and look at what the cost estimates will be, then we can forecast how long it’ll take to be in shape for that.”