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Demolition continues at the site of the former Immanuel Lutheran School in Waterloo, Iowa, on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2012. (RICK CHASE / Courier Staff Photographer)

WATERLOO, Iowa — A longtime downtown landmark is being reduced to rubble.

Demolition is well under way at U.S. Highway 63 and Franklin Street, the site of the former Immanuel Lutheran Church and school. Crews started working to tear down the school last week with the help of excavators whose shovels dug into the walls and roof of the building. The debris was dumped into large garbage bins or piled on the ground to be hauled away later.

The church and school will be replaced by a CVS Pharmacy store and a second retail building. No tenants have been announced for the second building.

Members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation have been holding their services at Christ Lutheran Church on South Hackett Road since June. The congregation plans to build a new church along Oster Parkway in Cedar Falls’ Pinnacle Prairie development off of Greenhill Road.

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Church members voted to merge Immanuel Lutheran School with Valley Lutheran School at Greenhill Road and Rownd Street in Cedar Falls, which is adding elementary grades in the fall as a result. The last day of classes at Immanuel was May 23 for preschool through sixth-grade students. Middle school classes had ended at Immanuel a year earlier.

Valley Lutheran is constructing five new classrooms in an unfinished portion of its building to accommodate the elementary students. School officials are expecting to have around 200 students this fall in kindergarten through 12th grade — about double last year’s enrollment — with the addition.

The 13,225-square-foot pharmacy will replace the CVS location at Logan Plaza. There are no other pharmacies in the downtown area. The additional 18,761-square-foot retail building would be constructed at a later point.

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