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Malcolm X's former Lansing elementary school to be turned into community resource hub

The brick building that once housed Pleasant Grove Elementary School stands empty on the corner of Holmes and Pleasant Grove roads in Lansing.
Ferguson Development
The former Pleasant Grove Elementary School on the corner of Holmes and Pleasant Grove roads in Lansing.

The site of a shuttered elementary school in south Lansing, once attended by civil rights icon Malcolm X, is set to be turned into a community resource hub.

City officials and developers are planning to turn the closed Pleasant Grove Elementary School into a social services building. It’s the same school X attended in 1931—the year his father was killed.

In December 2019, the board of the Ingham County Land Bank voted to approve the sale of the school building to Ferguson Development for $100,000.

Before the sale, developers with Ferguson had been working alongside the community to gather feedback on what residents wanted to see developed on the former elementary school building site.

Linda Nubani, a professor at Michigan State University, has been involved in gathering feedback from the community for the project. She says residents in the area historically score the lowest when it comes to access to resources and support.

"The majority of the residents agreed to see financial services, access to employment and language services, mental health resources, access to health and employment opportunities," she said.

Christopher Stralkowski, the manager for the project, says the feedback gathered led them to imagine a sort of community resource hub.

"So we're working with various profit and not-for-profit organizations that would come in and set up shop within the redevelopment itself," he said. "And they would provide an outreach to those citizens that are in need of those services."

Stralkowski hopes to incorporate ways for the community to remember the legacy of Malcolm X in the building’s design.

"We've enlisted the Lansing School District and the students, as well as individuals within the community itself, through various discussions, to figure what could be turned into a mural, statues, pictures or paintings on the building," he added.

The project is expected to be completed by the middle of next year.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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