A nearly 50-year-old building in Ferdinand that served as a residence hall for the former Marian Heights Academy will be torn down. The Sisters of St. Benedict of Ferdinand say the decision to demolish the 105,000 square-foot building, which has been vacant since 2000, comes after numerous attempts to repurpose it.
Sister Barbara Lynn Schmitz says those interested in possibly using the building determined it was too large for the population in the area and did not meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. She says because it has been sitting idle for so long, renovating the building would be cost prohibitive.
"Although it will be difficult to see this building gone," said Schmitz. "We look forward to how opening up this area will provide opportunities for sustainability and growth. It will allow us to create a closer entrance to our church that is more accessible for the sisters and monastery guests, particularly those with mobility issues. In addition, it enables us to invest our finances more into ministries and the people we serve and less into an aging facility."
The Sisters of St. Benedict say they hope to begin deconstruction by late fall and complete the project by June of 2017.