Kalamazoo elementary school building to be demolished, former attendees meet at school one final time

Posted at 11:57 PM, Jun 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-06 00:02:50-04

KALAMAZOO, Mich. --  It's an elementary school that's stood in Kalamazoo for nearly 100 years.

Friday evening alumni had one last chance to walk the halls and remember when.

If the walls of Milwood Elementary Schools could talk, chances are the voice you'd hear would echo the stories shared Friday evening, including one from a couple that's still on their way to a happy ending.

"We were always friends, all the way through school," said Diane Leader Oppenhuisen, who graduated from Milwood Elementary in 1958.

They were friends who turned life long partners on the 3000 block of lovers lane.

"We met in 5th grade," she said.

They met in 5th grade and never parted. Diane and Peter Oppenhuisen married 52 years and and still are going strong.

"A lot of connections, kept solid through the years," Diane said.

Those connections Diane shares with her former schoolmate Janet Flamm.

"We walked to school together everyday for all the years we came to Milwood," Flemm said. " Milwood means a lot to us," she continued.

But the school that means so much, will soon be demolished, before two new buildings take its place.

"It was a great school, we wanted to see it one last time," Flamm said.

"I'm going to miss my old school," said Laurie Cain, who attended Milwood Elementary kindergarten through third grade.

Cain's journey started in 1970  and said she can't stand to see it torn down.

"I'm totally against it. I'm chaining myself to the front door because I don't want it to go," Cain said.

With the wrecking ball just three weeks away, alumni reminisce on the memories that were made.

"There's just thousands of memories, and it's kind of hard to see them go," Flamm said.

We asked her about her most cherished memory at the the school. Flem said flashbacks of performing the bunny hop at school dances comes to mind.

As nostalgia sets in once last time, graduates prepare for the bittersweet goodbye.

"Time marches on and we can't keep everything the same, but that's why we came, we wanted to see it one last time.

Diane and Peter Oppenhuisen both graduated from the  school in 1958 and are sad to see the 'north building' go. But the upside is, the two new additions being built in it's place will total 26 thousand square feet.