Demolition Prep, Asbestos Removal to Begin at Highland Middle School
The Highland Township Board will have until Feb. 1 to make an offer to the Huron Valley Schools board of education that would save the gym, entrance to the vacant school.
If Highland Township hopes to save any part of the Highland Middle School building, the township board will have to come up with up to $150,000 according to the Huron Valley School Board.
At Tuesday's special meeting, the school board said the township has until Feb. 1 to come up with a proposal that will allow some part of Highland Middle School to remain.
The idea was first presented to the township last week by Superintendent Jim Baker. Under the proposal, the township would pay the cost (up to $150,000) to hook the Highland Middle School gymnasium up to heating and cooling - allowing it to be a standalone structure. In return, the school district would allow the gym and possibly an entrance to Highland Middle School to be saved from demolition.
"The school district's goal would be to remain cost neutral in regards to the annual operation of this facility. We simply cannot allow ourselves to fall into a deficit spending situation," Baker wrote in a letter to Highland Township. "Therefore, further conversations would have to take place (with Highland Township) in regards to shared future costs, legacy costs etc."
The gym, if saved, will be used by both the district and the community. Baker said area schools have expressed an interest in using the gym for programs, as well has the Highland senior center.
In the meantime, the district also approved asbestos abatement contracts for both Baker Elementary in Milford and Highland Middle School. The work will start in the next few days, though the gym under discussion for saving will be spared until after the Feb. 1 deadline.
In addition, the school board will enter into negotiations for the sale of the Baker Elementary property.
At the meeting, Sean Carlson, board president, said the district received three offers for the Baker Elementary property. Only one offer met the threshold for fair market value - something the district asked for in order to be able to sell the property without compromising bonds.
There was also an offer for the purchase of Highland Middle School, but that offer did not come close to fair market price and was denied.
Donna Welch, assistant superintendent of administrative service, said the district could not be specific about the offers because the offer were only letters of interest and the district wanted to be able to negotiate fairly on the properties.
The township board is expected to meet again Feb. 4 to discuss any offers made by Highland Township to save the gym at Highland Middle School.