The Hawk is anticipated to open in early June. The facility replaces Harrison High School and will feature a commemorative legacy wall for the former high school.

The Hawk is anticipated to open in early June. The facility replaces Harrison High School and will feature a commemorative legacy wall for the former high school.

Photo provided by the city of Farmington Hills


‘The Hawk’ set to open soon in Farmington Hills

By: Zachary Manning | Farmington Press | Published May 10, 2021

 The new 245,000-square-foot community center features an aquatics center with a zero-depth entry pool, a waterslide, a lazy river, a zip line and a climbing wall. Swim lessons, open swim times and lifeguard/CPR training will all be offered.

The new 245,000-square-foot community center features an aquatics center with a zero-depth entry pool, a waterslide, a lazy river, a zip line and a climbing wall. Swim lessons, open swim times and lifeguard/CPR training will all be offered.

Photo provided by the city of Farmington Hills

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FARMINGTON HILLS — Though it has been long and delayed, the wait for Farmington Hills’ new recreation center, “The Hawk,” will soon be coming to an end.

The Farmington Hills Department of Special Services is anticipating an early June opening date, with a ribbon cutting ceremony to kick off the new era of the former high school turned rec center.

The city of Farmington Hills purchased the closed Harrison High School from Farmington Public Schools in 2018 and began converting the building into a multipurpose community recreation center in the fall of 2019. The facility is located at 29995 12 Mile Road.

“We’re excited. We’re anticipating the opening,” Special Services Deputy Director Bryan Farmer said. “All of our staff is excited to be able to get in there and really get things open and start providing programs. Obviously, our residents are excited as well to be able to see the place and to start to experience what the community center is going to be all about.”

Though the school may be gone, the legacy will not be forgotten; Harrison’s nickname was the Hawks.

In addition to the name, the new facility will remember the tradition of Harrison by commemorating some of the best memories throughout the years. There will be a virtual legacy wall to honor the school.

Special Services Director Ellen Schnackel noted that legendary Harrison football coach Jon Herrington and star football player Mill Coleman were able to talk with the staff to provide inspiration and advice on how to continue the legacy of Harrison and give back to the community.

“There’s a lot of things that were really great about the school, including athletics,” Schnackel said. “There is actually a legacy wall in the main corridor, right in the main lobby, that incorporates a timeline of significant historic events for Harrison High School. There’s a touchscreen as well that the legacy committee purchased. They digitized every picture, every trophy, everything that used to be in Harrison, so it’s all in digital format. It’s an interactive touch screen. You’ll be able to step up to it and look into anything that you’re interested in, including even some of the student artwork that was on the wall upstairs in the art rooms.”

Outside of the enshrinement for Harrison, the facility will house some state-of-the-art equipment and will feature activities for every person to enjoy.

The new 245,000-square-foot community center features an aquatics center with a zero-depth entry pool, a waterslide, a lazy river, a zip line and a climbing wall. Swim lessons, open swim times and lifeguard/CPR training will all be offered. The Hawk also has a fitness center, a gym, dance studios, and full-sized indoor basketball, pickleball and volleyball courts.

The Hawk also houses an updated auditorium and a smaller, black box theater, plus a multipurpose center offering a venue for birthday parties with food service.

Other amenities include a facility for state-of-the-art social and competitive e-gaming; and a hands-on makerspace with tools including a band saw, 3D printers and laser cutters, among others. The adjoining 42-acre park will accommodate recreational and competitive leagues, lessons and tournaments for outdoor sports including lacrosse, football, tennis, track and field, soccer, pickleball and softball.

“I think The Hawk is definitely a unique opportunity for people that live here to be able to participate in a lot of programs where they may not find that in other communities, but it’s all right here in Farmington Hills,” Farmer said.

Schnackel and Farmer noted that the facility is in the home stretch and the building is just about to open. There are still things to do, including training staff and making sure they have crossed all their T’s and dotted all their I’s.

Prior to the opening, locals can get a sneak peek at the new rec center and even more updates about the facility by visiting www.thehawkfh.com. Those wishing to become passholders can do so online or by calling (248) 473-1800.

There will be more updates to come over the next couple of weeks, and a specific opening date will be available to the public soon.

“We have an incredible parks system already, and I think this is just another jewel in our crown,” Schnackel said. “A family looks for a community to move into, of course schools are high priority, obviously public safety, ensuring that your family is in a safe place to live, and then parks and recreation are right up there as important things. What kinds of activities are available to enrich my family and particularly my children’s lives? I think this really, really enhances it. We were already doing great stuff, to be honest, but this is just that next level of it, and it really expands the services we can offer.”

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