By: Jaymie Miller
In August 2020, the school district passed a $200 million bond for the future of our schools. The district is making several notable renovations and improvements to the middle and high schools. To pay for it, the school district used a bond, which is essentially a loan from the district community.
There was a lot of time and work spent designing the bond to make sure it would pass. “The district has been working on what the bond would look like for about a year altogether,” says Leah Abel, the former PTO President and a Bloomfield Hills parent. “There was a lot of work that went into that. A lot of parent community members and district employees were very heavily invested in making sure that the first vote would pass. If it didn’t pass the first time around, they would have had to reconstruct and change a lot of things. Getting it right the first time was great.”
Currently, our district has three middle schools. Two of them serve 4th-8th grades, and one of them serves 5th-8th grades. With the passage of the bond, there will be two new middle schools. The temporary names for them are North Hills and South Hills. The North Hills campus will be where Lahser High School once was, and South Hills will be at Bloomfield Hills Middle School campus.
Each middle school will serve 6th-8th grades. There will still be four elementary schools that will continue to be K-5th grades. Students will be able to move into the new buildings by the fall of 2023.
“West Hills students will be attending where Bloomfield Hills Middle School currently sits,” Ms. Abel says. “Some of the current Bloomfield Hills Middle School students will stay there. Everyone from East Hills will go to North Hills campus, and the rest of the kids from Bloomfield Hills Middle School will go to the North campus too.”
The current 6-8 graders will be in or entering the high school by the time the new changes happen. However, the current 4th and 5th graders will experience the new schools as middle schoolers.
Some new features of the new middle schools will include new gyms and auditoriums, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) spaces, common areas, improved technology, outdoor classroom spaces, and media centers.
Planning the changes took a lot of time and effort. “There were a ton of district administrators from every building who were involved,” Ms. Abel shares. “The teachers got to have a lot of say in what the new buildings would look like. They wanted to make sure that the spaces were designed for the education of everyone. Everyone from the teachers to the administrators to the superintendent got to be involved in the process.”
Currently, all of the elementary and middle schools are all about 50 years old, or even older. Since the district will have many more new structures, it won’t need to keep renovating the old schools. Bloomfield Hills School District hasn’t asked for any bonds like this one in years.
“With an old building, there’s often a lot of reconstruction that needs to happen,” Ms. Abel says. “Economically, it makes more sense to start from scratch, rather than just putting band-aids on old buildings again and again. And the new structures will last way longer into the future.”
As a result of the bond’s passage, the changes to the new schools should benefit the future generation of students for years to come.