New Bloomfield Hills High School to open doors at last
Bloomfield Hills — After a decade of aborted plans, defeated bond issues and heated debate, the new Bloomfield Hills High School is finally ready to welcome students.
Tuesday marks the first day at the school, which has been under construction for two years. The school is on the former Andover High School campus and will house 1,650 9th-12th graders.
With just days before school starts, crews are still wrapping up construction of the building, which teachers, elected officials and media toured Tuesday.
Superintendent Rob Glass led visitors through the open, convertible spaces filled with natural light and collaborative learning areas.
“I can assure you, it will be ready,” he said as construction crews laid tile and set bricks.
The building is 317,687 square feet with another 14,773 square feet in an auxiliary building that was once the Andover maintenance building but now serves as the district’s Model Center.
The building has been equipped with Wi-Fi strong enough for every student to use and collaborative learning areas. It also features a Blue Point Alert system, which will alert police and send the building into lockdown in the event of an emergency or active shooter situation, and new athletic fields.
“It makes me proud to know this district has continued to evolve,” school board President Ingrid Day said. “My hope was always that we would continue to do the right things at the right times. We don’t often get to open a new school.”
About 20 percent of the building is the old Andover space and 80 percent is new. While the construction was underway the past two years, students from Lahser and Andover high schools were combined in the cramped Lahser building, with 9th graders attending school at a separate building.
The new school was made possible by voters’ approval of a $58.7 million bond issue in 2012. The district contributed an additional $20 million in funds on hand for the project, and sinking fund dollars are being used for things like the athletic fields and some of the renovated areas. The pool and auditorium are not scheduled for completion until Jan. 1.
Bloomfield Hills residents rejected previous, larger bond proposals for school construction in 2010 and 2007. Some opponents objected to the cost, while Andover and Lahser loyalists wanted to maintain both schools.
After years of being bounced around, students are excited to have their own space.
“From my freshman year, I’ve been waiting for the new building,” said senior Foster Stubbs, 18, who originally went to Lahser. “To see it go up from nothing, it’s rewarding. It’s a very exciting time.”
Senior Andie McKendrick, 17, attended classes at the Model Center and watched the construction process every day during the commute from Lahser.
“My freshman year, they told me I was going to be in the new high school,” said McKendrick, who was originally an Andover student. “I was kind of skeptical. Then when we moved to Lahser, it finally sunk in.”
McKendrick said her top concern is not getting lost in the expansive new building.
“It’s a big deal because everyone, the students and the teachers, are so excited,” she said.