The transformation of the former Eagle Elementary School to an Islamic youth center in West Bloomfield Township will soon take place after the Farmington Public Schools, which owns the building, was informed on Monday, Oct. 31 that the purchaser of the building is moving ahead with the purchase.
Diane Bauman, Director of School and Community Relations for Farmington Public Schools, said the district is now in the process of preparing for a closing that needs to be held within 30 days, or by Nov. 30.
The Farmington Public Schools Board of Education previously approved the purchase of the former Eagle Elementary School at 29410 West 14 Mile Road in West Bloomfield for $1.1 million by the Islamic Cultural Association, now located in Franklin.
The purchase came before the district’s Board of Education at a June 14 meeting, which brought a vocal, passionate crowd, with many arguing against the purchase.
Then on July 29, a lawsuit was filed in Oakland County Circuit Court by Eugene Greenstein and Melvyn Sternfeld, two residents who live near the school.
The two men claimed that the school board had already approved and took bids for the demolition and that the purchase from the Islamic Cultural Association took place back in January.
They also alleged that the board took no motion to rescind the demolition, didn’t mention the purchase on the agenda for the June 14 meeting and didn’t follow an approved process before the sale, such as analyzing community impact and seeing if there were other bids for the property.
Susan Zurvalec, Superintendent of Farmington Public Schools, countered by saying that the district followed standard protocol and that the Islamic Cultural Association was the only buyer to step forward and make an offer for the building. It was not done in secret and no preferential treatment was given, Zurvalec argued.
Zurvalec added that when demolition was approved for four elementary school buildings in the district, Eagle was excluded.
Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot denied the two men’s request for summary disposition and/or an injunction on Sept. 21.
Zurvalec said that the two men filed an appeal with the Michigan Court of Appeals, with the first aspect being denied three days later and the remainder of the matter still pending.