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Bloomfield Township

September 3, 2014

The countdown begins

By Elizabeth Scussel
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Construction is continuing on schedule at the site of the new Bloomfield Hills High School. Project Superintendent Juan Vazquez walks through the area that will eventually be turned into one of the school’s “learning communities.”
A rendering of one “learning community” shows the open, flexible spaces where students can learn, study and eat. The layout of the new high school emphasizes multipurpose use of every gathering space.
 

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — This time next year, the halls of Bloomfield Hills High School will be packed with students.

And it seems nothing can thwart the progress of nearly 200 crewmembers at the new high school — not even a year of peculiar weather.

“We just worked through the cold and the snow. Even through 5 inches of rain, the site held up well,” said Juan Vazquez, superintendent of the project. “We are right on schedule.”

The school — which is slated to open in September 2015 — will be 371,687 square feet and will comfortably accommodate 1,800 students. Two-thirds of the building will be new construction, and one-third will be renovated original space.

The collegiate-style campus concept will not resemble a traditional high school floorplan — missing will be conventional hallways filled with rows of lockers.

“We’re creating a flexible learning environment, and no space will be wasted,” said Shira Good, director of communications for Bloomfield Hills Schools. “When students are more comfortable, they are more apt to learn. This barrier-free learning environment facilitates collaboration between teachers and students.”

The new layout emphasizes multipurpose use of every gathering space. The school will include several “learning communities” filled with soft chairs, and open, flexible spaces for students to learn, study and eat. There will be “distributed dining” throughout the building, as well as a serving area along the school’s main corridor.

With mostly glass walls, the learning communities offer a view of a centralized courtyard that will provide outside space for teachers to move their classroom into fresh air.

Class structure will also differ from that of a traditional high school — with a crossover of core curriculum classes.

“This concept is a way for teachers to get to know their kids better. When they spend the day with their students, they can recognize problems that they wouldn’t notice after just spending an hour with them,” Good said. “It will definitely be a big culture shift and a different environment for them, but we know they’ll be great with it. It gives these students a chance to succeed at a higher rate and deeper level. Children will feel more comfortable. It gives them a chance to shine.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Elizabeth Scussel at escussel@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1037.