Parts of old Lahser High could be razed, district says

Shawn D. Lewis
The Detroit News

Bloomfield Hills – Part of the former Lahser High School could be demolished as Bloomfield Hills Schools disposes of former classroom buildings closed because of declining enrollment.

The former Lahser High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on July 26, 2016.

District officials emphasize no decision has been made on the fate of the former high school on Andover, though the district’s master plan for its former facilities lists tearing down part of Lahser as an option.

“It is likely that at least a portion of the building will be demolished,” reads the master plan.

The Lahser campus housed the newly merged Bloomfield Hills High School for two years and has sat vacant since the school was moved into a new building on the site of the former Andover High School last year.

District spokeswoman Shira Good said officials aren’t not talking about demolishing the entire school.

“Potentially just a portion – maybe the academic sections (old classrooms) since the carrying costs are so high,” Good said. “That building is going to take significantly longer to decide upon. We’ll have more of an update on Lahser this fall. At this point, there’s no potential impact to the community because nothing has been even remotely decided with the building – we’re not even issuing (a request for proposals) for demo yet because we want to see if we can coordinate any ground leases first.”

The former Pine Lake Elementary School in West Bloomfield Township, which could be demolished, closed in 2009.

The district acknowledges the attachment of alumni and others to Lahser, which was open from 1967 to 2013, saying on its website: “The community has expressed an emotional tie to this site.”

Two other former schools that closed in 2009 are slated to be torn down – Pine Lake and Hickory Grove.

The district is considering selling the 27.4-acre Hickory Grove site on Lahser to Robertson Brothers Homes for $5.45 million; Robertson wants to build a subdivision of 34 detached condominiums there. The former Hickory Grove school is 52,700 square feet.

The Pine Lake site includes 26.7 acres and the former elementary school, which is 42,950 square feet.

At a meeting last month, the Bloomfield Hills school board voted to move ahead with razing the two former schools and agreed to sell a vacant 18-acre site off Long Lake Road to Hunter Pasteur Homes Estates for $3.5 million.

“I have mixed emotions about demolition and would imagine the community does, too,” Superintendent Rob Glass said in a statement posted on the district’s website. “Though I am pleased we will no longer carry those costs on our books (heating, cooling, maintenance, etc.), there are a lot of memories in those buildings. ... But the economy and enrollment no longer support retaining physical structures not in use.”

The former Hickory Grove Elementary School in Bloomfield Hills, which closed in 2009.

Bloomfield Hills’ enrollment dropped from 5,826 in 2005-06 to 5,493 in 2014-15, though it rebounded to 5,520 in 2015-16.

The school board will hear a presentation from Robertson Brothers at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Hickory Grove.

The sale is expected to be on the board’s agenda for its regular meeting at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 at 7273 Wing Lake Road.

School board president Ingrid Day said the goal of the master planning is to curb unnecessary building costs and funnel resources into classrooms.

“The purpose was to facilitate discussions with our community members regarding the future of four distinct district assets, whether we were discussing building usage or carrying costs of assets not fully utilized, so that our district could run as efficiently as possible, dedicating our operating dollars to the education of our students,” she said.


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