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Plans to demolish seminary building face opposition

Plans to demolish seminary building face opposition

REXBURG, Idaho - Plans to demolish Rexburg's Old Seminary Building in order to make room for a parking lot are facing strong opposition from several groups including Preservation Idaho and the Daughters of Utah Pioneers.

The building, built in 1937, hasn't been in use for years. Madison School District, which owns it, has previously said preserving it would be too costly. They've already awarded a bid to demolish it.

But Sharon Marlor, a member of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, said nearly 100 people have signed a petition against demolishing the building.

She and others are working with Preservation Idaho to find a way to preserve it.

"It would be an excellent location for a museum or an art gallery. Something that the community could use," said Ronalee Flansburg.

Some have estimated it could cost up to $1 million to bring the neglected building into compliance with building codes, said Flansburg.

Dan Everhart with Preservation Idaho said several nonprofits have expressed interest in buying or leasing the building from the school district, but he said they haven't gotten any positive response.

"There is not another building of this style that I have seen in eastern Idaho. It's very unique to this area," said Lowell Parkinson, a Madison County historian who also attended seminary in the building in the 1960s.

Those opposed to demolishing the building say they bear the school board no ill will and have extended an invitation to board members to discuss the issue.

"They're looking for the interests of the school district, and I can understand that, but if we don't preserve old buildings, then what heritage do we have?" asked Marlor.

Local News 8 attempted to contact the school district, but was unable to reach anyone.

Preservationists will be holding a meeting on Monday at 6 p.m. at the senior center in Rexburg.

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