Granite City, Il. (KSDK) -- Children and their parents in Granite City, Illinois will be losing a piece of their history soon. Niedringhaus Elementary was built in 1928. The red doors of decades of tradition will close for the final time at the end of April 2013.
"I grew up just one block from here," said incoming Granite Schools superintendent Jim Greenwald. He never went to the school but it was always the heart of the area in Granite City he calls "around the park".
"I've had great memories here," said 16 year-old Stephen Goodrich. Stephen and his track and field teammate 15 year-old Hunter Little used to play soccer at Niedringhaus during grade school.
" I'm pretty bummed its shutting down," said Little.
Greenwald said the district decided it wasn't worth the money to keep the doors open. The building is too old and expensive to maintain he said. The money the district saves will go to operating the other schools and keeping extracurricular activities free.
"We're one of the few schools in the entire area that doesn't charge to play extracurricular sports or activities," he said.
Greenwald said teachers won't lose jobs. He said parents will get a plan by the end of April about where their children will go to school in the fall.
"I know change is never easily embraced," said Greenwald.
The administrators say they won't board up the windows at Niedringhaus. It could be used as an office building or a banquet hall by other organizations in the city.
"It's going to be sad for me not send my kids here in the future," said 16 year old Goodrich. His parents both went to Niedringhaus. He and Little said they understand why the district is making the decision to shut down their grade school.
"Everybody needs a change. You can't always do the same thing for your whole life. It's time," said Goodrich.
History may not repeat itself at Niedringhaus. Children will have to turn a new page at schools with newer tools to take them into the future.
U.S. Census numbers show Granite City lost five percent of its population in the last ten years. Greenwald doesn't think closing the schools will drive more people out of the city or affect their property values