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Plans to demolish historic Rexburg building create divisions

Plans to tear down the Old Seminary Building in Rexburg have some divided.

The Madison School District, which owns the building, said it plans to demolish it to build a parking lot. But some say the building is an historic landmark and should remain standing.

“It’s a positive symbol, and I hate to lose that symbol in my life,” said Boyd Zollinger, whose grandfather, Charles J. Zollinger, built the building in 1937. Zollinger even attended seminary in the building in the 1950s.

“It reminds me of that time in my life, and that time of my life was a happy time,” said Zollinger.

Despite his fond memories of the Old Seminary Building, Zollinger said he’s fine with it being demolished. Debra Zollinger, however, is staunchly opposed to demolition plans.

“We have so few historical buildings left in our area,” said Debra Zollinger.

For the past two years, the building sat empty, and the school district said it can’t justify preserving it.

“We’re not using it anymore. Don’t have a need for it. It’s just an old building,” said Varr Snedaker, business manager for the Madison School District.

“It is an old building, but it’s not just an old building,” said Debra Zollinger. She said the building is one of few historic buildings in Rexburg that survived the Teton Dam Flood in the 1970s.

“This is our history, and we’re going to demolish it with heavy equipment,” said Debra Zollinger.

The school district said it would be too expensive to preserve the building, but Snedaker said he couldn’t provide any hard numbers to back up that claim.

“I don’t really have the numbers there,” said Snedaker. “We haven’t really researched that a whole lot.”

The school board will meet Thursday night to decide which company will receive the demolition contract.

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