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The Highland Park Board of Education has approved a request for proposals to build a new high school and launch an adult education program in the Wayne County community, officials announced Thursday.

Through the process, the board seeks responses from qualified public school academy operators for a college preparatory high school that would enroll as many as 500 students in fall 2021, the district said in a statement. The district closed Highland Park Renaissance Academy High School in 2015 after enrollment fell to about 160 students.

“The children of Highland Park deserve a high-quality education that prepares them for future success,” said Alexis Ramsey, the board president. “With the revitalization of Barber Preparatory Academy, our PreK-8 elementary school, we have now set our sights on a STEAM-focused high school as well as a re-engagement and adult learning center.”

The process also includes plans for an adult learning public school academy in the district that would attendees to obtain their high school diploma as well as vocational certification training, according to the release. It is tentatively scheduled to open in December.

“Students want to stay and learn locally,” said Janet White, a board trustee. “Our community overwhelmingly supports our vision for the future of Highland Park schools and our children.”

The effort follows the district, which exited state oversight in 2018, pushing a strategic plan focusing on long-term stability, including enrollment, according to the district's website.

It also coincides with the city expecting renewal in the wake of announced developments, such as auto parts maker Faurecia planning to invest $10.7 million and create 505 jobs there.

 “Great things are happening in and around Highland Park. Now, we need great educational facilities to accommodate the amazing rebirth of our city,” Ramsey said.

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