By this time next year, students at Menominee Catholic Central school could be getting used to new surroundings. Plans call for the sale of the building and property on 10th Avenue. The school would be relocated to the former Lincoln Elementary School on the city’s north side. The Lincoln school is being sold by the Menominee Area Public School District.  EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
By this time next year, students at Menominee Catholic Central school could be getting used to new surroundings. Plans call for the sale of the building and property on 10th Avenue. The school would be relocated to the former Lincoln Elementary School on the city’s north side. The Lincoln school is being sold by the Menominee Area Public School District. EagleHerald/Rick Gebhard
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MENOMINEE - If all goes according to plan, the Menominee Area Public School District will strike an agreement to sell the former Lincoln School to Menominee Catholic Central (MCC).

Rev. Mark McQuesten of Holy Spirit Catholic Church confirmed Thursday that an offer has been made to purchase the now vacant school at 2701 17th St. The 30,000-square-foot building and property was assessed at $150,000.

Menominee Superintendent Mike Cattani confirmed the district has received an offer for that amount and it is under consideration by the board of education.

Lincoln sits on about 4 acres of land on the city's north side near Resurrection parish. It has a gym, kitchen, 13 regular-size classrooms, in addition to smaller special-needs rooms, art and music rooms and a library. According to a recent report, the roof of Lincoln was replaced in 1992 and is in need of work and the kitchen components were removed and transferred to Central Elementary.

MCC, on the other hand, is situated in a prime location for commercial development.

"The assessed value of our property was like $400,000," said McQuesten. "We think that's kind of low. We've got to hammer this out so everyone wins here."

The church is waiting to hear back from the district, which wants to get a fair price. But as McQuesten points out, there are only so many things you can use a school for.

"Ultimately, I believe the public schools are going to benefit," he said. "They won't have to be paying on a building they don't use and they will get tax money from the sale of our school."

If the church is successful in the sale of MCC, the property would in all likelihood go back on the tax roles, generating additional income for the city. If the church purchases Lincoln, it would also remove the maintenance costs from taxpayers.

Lincoln School is larger than MCC and has an old (1951) section and a newer (1992) addition. It is away from heavy traffic and in a neighborhood that is used to having a school.

MCC is located on the very busy 10th Avenue/U.S. 41. Because of its location at the foot of the Interstate Bridge, it has been the target of several serious vehicle accidents over the years.

"That building has been directly impacted or destroyed by cars and trucks coming off the bridge," McQuesten pointed out. "The fence was knocked down completely a month or so ago and the building had been hit previously. We had to replace one of the walls of the library. You only get so many chances to act on a message like that."

Years ago, there were several Catholic schools in town. MCC used to be called St. Anne's. Children of parents who attended or lived near St. Anne's Church, where McDonald's now stands, would attend that school.

Epiphany School was located behind Holy Spirit Church (formerly Epiphany Church) and housed two fourth- and two fifth-grade classroom.

St. John's School was where the Anuta Research Center is located behind the Menominee Historical Museum. The museum was formerly St. John's Church.

And St. William's Church had St. William's School on 41st Avenue. The school eventually became MCC North and the church name changed to Resurrection.

There is a lot of history and tradition connected with Catholic churches and schools and that was cause for concern in the decision making process. McQuesten said after school and parish council members toured Lincoln School and after the latest accident at MCC, it changed a lot of attitudes and is now a safety issue as well.

Something else coming out of all this is another name change for the school. It will no longer be called MCC.

"We're the only school that hasn't changed its name to an appropriate Catholic name, like a saint, Bishop Baraga, etc.," explained McQuesten. "We will be changing the name. That's a mandate from the diocese." Any name change must be approved by the bishop or the administrator of the diocese.

The school and parish councils have given their blessings to move forward on the sale of MCC and purchase of Lincoln. A qualified inspection must still be done on the Lincoln building in order to secure a certificate of occupancy and determine if there are any significant repair costs.

Plans are to be in the Lincoln building at the start of school in the fall.