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June 17, 2013

District breaks ground on new Bloomfield Hills High School

By Robin Ruehlen
C & G Staff Writer

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Members of the Bloomfield Hills Schools Board of Education and the design/construction teams “break ground” on the site of the future Bloomfield Hills High School June 14.

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — A little over one year since residents approved a $58.6 million bond to fund a new combined high school for Bloomfield Hills Schools, the shovels have officially hit the dirt.

Dozens attended the groundbreaking in front of Andover High School June 14, where construction on the new home of the Bloomfield Hills High School Black Hawks is set to begin.

BHS Board of Education President Ingrid Day said attending multiple graduations and celebrations in the past weeks has served to remind her of the great talent within the district and the great hope she has for the future.

“(Lahser and Andover high schools) will forever be woven into the fabric of our district,” she said.

“Our needs have shifted, now, and we have to adapt. The technological leaps that are occurring now could not have been envisioned five years ago.”

Final drawings of the new state-of-the-art two-story BHHS building, set to open in the fall of 2015, were released in December and detail a collegiate-style campus that emphasizes the multipurpose use of every gathering space. Seven “learning communities,” four on the second level, three on the first, will consist of open, flexible spaces where students can study and eat lunch without traveling to a separate area of the school, and faculty will share “collaboration suites” within each community.

There will be “distributed dining” throughout the building, as well as a main serving area along the school’s “Main Street.” A two-story library will be the “heart of the heart” of the building, and the second-floor learning communities will be stocked with cozy seating to echo that of the Bloomfield Township Public Library. The classrooms and the gathering areas of the building will have direct views to landscaped courtyards that provide shade and seat walls, providing a place for teachers to take the classroom outdoors.

“This building has been designed with flexibility and adaptability in mind, and it is a departure from a regular high school,” Day said.

“I’m so proud of our community and our staff that have come together over the past years to create this solution for our children’s future — and the future looks black, purple and silver indeed. Go Black Hawks!”

Although construction on the new building is just beginning, the BHHS community will begin in the fall of 2013 on two campuses — the 9th Grade Campus at the former Hickory Grove School site and the Main Campus at the former Lahser School site. Model High School will be relocated to the former Pine Lake site.

Superintendent Rob Glass said the day marks the “middle” of an exciting time for BHS.

“In September, the new Bloomfield Hills High School will begin on two campuses, and we are energized for that first day of school,” he said.

“Teachers are working to redesign the way students are taught, counseled and coached, and they are becoming more of facilitators than lecturers. The comforting and motivating spaces in the new building will allow students to turn on and plug in, or to quietly contemplate their studies.”

Rep. Mike McCready, who was also in attendance at the groundbreaking, said he is happy that the district has reached this important milestone.

“It’s taken a long time for everyone to get here, and here we are,” he said.

“It’s very exciting.”

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robin Ruehlen at rruehlen@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1105.