Highland Board Says It Has the Money, Wants to Negotiate with School District

The Highland Township Board unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday stating they have the $150,000 needed to save Highland Middle School, and they authorized Supervisor Rick Hamill to negotiate with Huron Valley Schools.

The Highland Township Board of Trustees will send a resolution to Huron Valley Schools Thursday morning that states they have the money Huron Valley Schools requested in order to save the Highland Middle School gym. In addition, the board has given Supervisor Rick Hamill permission to negotiate terms with the school district.

"They said the ball was in our court Monday, well now the ball is in their court," Hamill said Wednesday night at a special meeting.

Hamill said he and the township board hope that this new resolution will meet the monetary requirement the district requested Monday night, and allow the township and school district to meet and hammer out the details needed to move ahead and work to save the gym at Highland Middle School.

The middle school is slated to be demolished March 1.

Clerk Mary McDonell explained to the township board, during the meeting, that legally the township can't invest or set aside money for the gym because the township does not own the building. However, the township will be able to put money into it once it's renovated through rental fees.

"If we wanted to rent it on certain days for a number of hours to run programs through the Highland Adult Activity Center, for example, we could pay for that using township funds," McDonell said.

Hamill said it will still be up to the community and local businesses to pitch in and raise the $150,000 necessary to rennnovate the gym into a standalone building.

Trustee Russ Tierny asked if the resolution will satisfy the school board, and Hamill said he didn't have an answer, "We're getting down to semantics now (with the school board), I hope that they see this, they see that we've made two unanimous shows of support and that they will come to the table so we can start to discuss details."

Hamill said that just because the township has stated they have the money, it doesn't mean the gym is automatically saved.

"We might sit down with the district and find that we can't agree on terms and the uses for the building, if that's the case then it's likely it will be demolished," Hamill said. "I hope this (resolution) just allows us to take that next step and start to look at those details. This could be a real positive for both the Highland community and the school district."


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