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Farmington Schools Facilities Group Recommends Sweeping Changes

In addition to K-12 renovations, the Facilities Forward Steering Committee vision includes consolidation of early childhood programs and moving the district's alternative high school.

Farmington School Board members got their first look Tuesday at a report that recommends sweeping changes to every Farmington Public Schools K-12 building, the closure of buildings that house two early childhood programs, and relocation of the district's alternative high school.

The public can learn more about the Facilities Forward Steering Committee's vision for the future on Thursday, 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Dunckel Middle School Cafeteria, 32800 W. 12 Mile Road in Farmington Hills. Officials say public comment is critical to development of the vision, which will be formally presented to officials on Jan. 29.

In June 2012, the committee started gathering information about "21st century learning environments", committee member Steve Majoros said. Architect John Castellana of TMP Architecture, said the group agreed on a set of ideals, based on principles of flexible, adaptable space that supports hands-on and collaborative learning, then looked at how those might fit with the existing buildings.

The recommendations include:

  • Renovating and upgrading all K-12 schools to create "technology-rich, age-appropriate, community-focused, sustainable and flexible" learning environments, as well as improving building security
  • Relocating early childhood programs at Alameda and Farmington Community School to one new or upgraded building, and closing both those facilities
  • Relocating Farmington Central High School to a new facility or integrating it with one of the district's three traditional high schools 

Castellana said a "rule of thumb" is that a building renovation should not cost more than two-thirds of a new building, and renovating the early childhood centers would exceed that standard. 

Board member Priscilla Brouillette raised questions about moving Farmington Central, and Supt. Sue Zurvalec said Central students would prefer a separate facility. The school is currently housed in the same building with the Farmington Community Early Childhood program. 

"We think this is something the board and administration should think about and put together some options," Zurvalec said.

Additional recommendations include reconfiguring the administrative center, Ten Mile Building and transportation area; creating a community center that would include space for performing arts and/or athletics; and disposing of vacant properties. While the committee estimated costs of $91 million for infrastructure improvements and $169 million for configuring learning studios, collaborative stations and technology, Zurvalec stressed those were rough estimates. 

She said if the board approves the vision, another committee will put more accurate dollar amounts on the recommendations. Then citizens will decide how much – if any – of the vision they're willing to fund. 

"This may not all be able to be accomplished," Zurvalec said. "The public will tell us." 

Time will be provided at the Jan. 17 meeting for comments and questions about the committee's report. An on-line survey will be open from Jan. 18 to Jan. 24 and posted on the District's web site, farmington.k12.mi.us. Questions should be directed to Associate Superintendent of Operational Services David Ruhland at 248-489-3356.

Marie Silver January 16, 2013 at 04:29 PM
How about honestly addressing the need for three "traditional" high schools? There isn't enough enrollment in this district to justify the continuing cost of three high schools. And they have to be kidding about the need for another "community center" or any more performing arts or athletic facilities in this community. Show me that everything we already have (three public high schools, OCC, Costick, library, Grant Community Center, Founders' Park, Heritage Park, Longacre, etc., etc.) is utilized completely before you even dare to ask the public to fund anything more.
grama January 16, 2013 at 08:38 PM
I couldn't have put it any better than M. Silver did. You already tried another Community Center (The Grant Center) and that seems to have failed as far as Seniors using it. I for one don't have any money to fund anything else!!

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