The Roosevelt school in Ferndale will no longer be the future home to CASA, and the district has yet to determine what the building will be used for in the future.

The Roosevelt school in Ferndale will no longer be the future home to CASA, and the district has yet to determine what the building will be used for in the future.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

CASA no longer moving into Roosevelt school

Consortium program to be located at Oak Park academy

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published March 22, 2023


OAKLAND COUNTY — The Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts will no longer be moved to the Roosevelt school.

Originally, CASA was going to move from its 23561 Rosewood St. location in Oak Park to the Roosevelt school at 2610 Pinecrest Drive in Ferndale, which currently serves as the Lower Elementary School. This was because a new Ferndale Lower Elementary School was going to be built on the current CASA grounds, and the current CASA building would be demolished.

The Roosevelt school was to then receive updates before CASA would move in.

Recently, however, it was announced that CASA would not be moving into Roosevelt and instead will be moved into the NOVA Academy in Oak Park at the beginning of the next school year. CASA is a consortium that serves the Berkley, Clawson, Ferndale, Lamphere, Madison, Oak Park and Pontiac school districts.

“The decision was made that the Roosevelt school needed to be used for something else for Ferndale,” CASA Director Jennifer Gebbie said. “I believe that new purpose hasn’t yet been decided and we were told that we could no longer use that building. So we went looking for somewhere else to be.”

According to a letter to the Ferndale community, Ferndale Public Schools stated that one of the major issues the district was facing was the timeline for the construction of the new Lower Elementary School.

“CASA is scheduled to be demolished during the Summer of 2023, but the students in the Roosevelt building would not move into the new building until the Summer/Fall of 2024. CASA students may not have been able to move into the renovated Roosevelt building until Summer 2025,” the letter reads.

Ferndale Public Schools Superintendent Bobbie Hayes Goodrum, who came into the role last summer, said there was no plan in place for where CASA was going to be located during that one-year period.

“We did not have an appropriate location to house CASA during the year that Roosevelt would still be utilized by Lower Elementary and whatever time would be needed to actually do the renovations to make an elementary school acceptable for a high school,” she said. “We looked into a number of options that we had, including (Tri-County Educational Center), which would have required the displacement of some spaces that are currently utilized by Royal Oak Township and was still not meeting the needs of CASA.”

Because moving into Roosevelt wasn’t an option anymore, Gebbie said the school was made aware that NOVA Academy had space for it. NOVA Academy previously housed CASA in the 1980s.

“NOVA Oak Park is actually investing quite heavily and bringing NOVA up to speed for us and putting in a lot of improvements — technology and so forth. So it will be our new permanent home for the foreseeable future,” she said.

Because NOVA required some updates, Goodrum said the school wanted to know that the investment wasn’t going to be for one year only and that it wanted to house CASA going forward. The community letter stated that the program would be there for at least two years.

(It was) determined that that was acceptable because we did not have an alternate option for CASA for the ’23-’24 school year,” she said. “We didn’t want to discontinue the program. We talked about maybe regional centers; like, we looked at a number of options and at the end of the day, the option that we settled on, what was the original home of CASA in the first place.”

As far as Roosevelt, Goodrum said a future use for that building has not yet been determined. Roosevelt will not be vacated by the Lower Elementary School until August 2024, but Goodrum stated that the building will be used by the district.

“We need that building just as far as space to accommodate our current students,” she said. “We know that we need it. It’s just a matter of determining what other uses are available and how we can best support our entire community.”