Our Building

Hillcrest Elementary School, Kalamazoo, 1940, probably photographed by Mamie L. Austin.  Source:  Kalamazoo Public Library Photo P-1017

Hillcrest Elementary School, Kalamazoo, 1940, probably photographed
by Mamie L. Austin.

Source: Kalamazoo Public Library Photo P-1017


Building Chronology


Voters approved construction of a school building at 1401 Cherry St. in the Hillcrest Neighborhood off Oakland Drive. [Board of Education Minutes, 1925-1926]


Architect Milton C. J. Billingham of Billingham and Cobb presented plans for Hillcrest Elementary School.  [Board of Education Minutes, 1925-1926]


Builder Henry VanderHorst received the contract for the general construction of Hillcrest Elementary School.  [Board of Education Minutes, 1925-1926]


Photograph of building can be found in the supplement “Kalamazoo The Gateway of Educational Opportunity” c.1926. [Kalamazoo Public Library Local History Subject File: Kalamazoo Public Schools - Buildings and Grounds]


Board of Education approved addition to Hillcrest. Architect was M. C. J. Billingham and contractor was Ray Stevens Company. [Board of Education Minutes, 1954-1955, 1955-1956]


Addition was completed. [Board of Education Minutes, 1955-1956]


Hillcrest Elementary School closed in the early 1970s. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 14 June 1985, page B1, column 1]


Western Michigan University rented Hillcrest Elementary for a day care and tutoring center. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 17 November 1973, page A16, column 5]


Building sold to Kazoo School. [Kalamazoo Gazette, 14 June 1985, page B1, column 1]


Compiled by Lynn Houghton, Kalamazoo Public Library staff, February 2008.

The Building & Grounds Committee

The Building & Grounds Committee is a standing board committee that is tasked with keeping our historic building in good working order. The committee ensures compliance and schedules inspections. It is a hard working committee that spearheaded a three-year basement clean out (completed in the fall of 2018), and is working to acquire a new roof for our building.

It is important to note that in the past, asbestos was used extensively in building materials because of its insulating, sound absorbing, and fire retarding capabilities. Virtually any building constructed before the late 1970's contained some asbestos. Intact and undisturbed asbestos materials generally do not pose a health risk. Asbestos materials, however, can become hazardous when, due to damage or deterioration over time, they release fibers.

In 1986, Congress passed the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) which requires schools to be inspected to identify and asbestos containing building materials. In accordance with the Act, Kazoo School conducted an inspection and suspected asbestos­ containing building materials were located, sampled (or assumed) and rated according to condition and potential hazard. In subsequent years, we have conducted re-inspections to determine whether the condition of the known or assumed asbestos containing building materials (ACBM) has changed and made recommendations on managing or removing the ACBM. At the last re-inspection, conducted in June 2018, materials listed in the Management Plans as asbestos containing (or assumed to be asbestos-containing) were inspected and found to be generally in good overall condition.

The law further requires asbestos management plans to be in place by July 1989. The board developed plans, as required, which have been continually updated. The plans have several ongoing requirements: publish a notification on management plan availability and the status of asbestos activities; educate and train its employees about asbestos and how to deal with it: notify short-term or temporary workers on the locations of the asbestos containing building materials; post warning labels in routine maintenance areas where asbestos was previously identified or assumed; follow set plans and procedures designed to minimize the disturbance of asbestos containing building materials; and survey the condition of these materials to assure that they remain in good condition.

It is the intention of Kazoo School to comply with all federal and state regulations controlling asbestos and to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure students and employees a healthy and safe environment in which to learn and to work. You are welcome to review a copy of the asbestos management plan in the office during regular hours.