Despite a large showing of support by the Highland community last week to save the gym at Highland Middle School, the Huron Valley Schools Board of Education asked Highland Supervisor Rick Hamill to get the township to commit $150,000 to the the school district at Monday's school board meeting in order to save the building.
School Board President Sean Carlson said he appreciated the show of support, but that the school board needed the monetary commitment in order to move forward with the township.
The asbestos removal at the property is scheduled to be completed Feb. 14 or Feb. 15, so the time line for the township to commit the money is short.
Following the asbestos removal, demolition of the building will begin March 1 unless the township can give the school district the money needed to save the gym, school officials said.
"I think what you've done is a good first step," Carlson said. "But, I think the ball is still in Highland Township's court."
If the township board cannot come up with the money in the next week, the building will be demolished.
Hamill said at the school board meeting Monday that he will be calling a special meeting to discuss the matter with the township board.
At last week's township meeting, Hamill told the crowd that the township legally could not commit taxpayer dollars to the project unless the township and school district had an agreement laying out how the township would benefit from the investment.
Monday night, Hamill said the township does have the money available to set aside for the project, but the township board will have to decide if that's something they are willing to do.
"We have the money in the fund balance that we can set aside to support the project, but we want to make sure this is a community project done with community support," Hamill said. "We want to put the right dollars into this project, not necessarily taxpayer's dollars."
Hamill said he and the township board are working hard to ensure the end result is a positive one for Highland and its residents.
"The time lines they (the district) have given us have been short, we've been working our butts off to try and make something good happen, I'm going to go home tonight and get started," Hamill said.
Other township board members in attendance echoed Hamill's resolve.
"We need to go home and sleep on this, then get to work and see what we can do," Trustee Charles Dittmar said.