Highland Township and Huron Valley Schools officials have met to discuss the fate of Highland Middle School now that the school district has shuttered the building.
“There were no options discussed because it was our first ability to sit down with (Highland officials) like we had done with Milford,” said interim Huron Valley Superintendent Jim Baker following the recent meeting of the parties.
Initially in late May, the Board of Education approved a motion to sell, or demolish and sell, Highland Middle School and Baker Elementary School and give the municipalities the first right of refusal for 60 days to purchase the properties.
The district that directive on June 21 to extend the offer until March 31, 2013 given any restrictions or limitations the board or district may place on the sale.
“We will see if they are interested in the building or part of the building or parcels,” Baker said. “If there’s no interest, the (school) board is authorized to sell, or demolish and sell, both Baker and Highland Middle School.”
For a first meeting, Baker said the discussion was positive.
“(Highland Township Supervisor) Triscia (Pilchowski) did a nice job making sure they hosted a meeting when all the board members could be there and allowed (Board of Education President) Sean (Carlson) to lay out the background and all the updated information,” Baker said.
After Carlson’s presentation, Highland board members posed questions about the building, such as about its square footage and structure.
“Once I get all the questions compiled from Tricia, I will be putting together a package for them,” Baker said.
Pilchowski said the school district was able to convey their intent to sell or demolish the building; however board members were hoping for a bit more information.
“The board presented our questions, and (the district) told us to put them in writing and then they will respond,” Pilchowski said. “I think the board was disappointed that we were not able to get the answers to the questions immediately. They didn’t come prepared to answer our questions, but to tell us that Highland Middle School is available for purchase.”
The board wanted answers to questions such as the lowest price the district was willing to accept for the property, as well as the age of boilers, furnaces, and air conditioning units.
People who have questions should send them to the school district or give them to Pilchowski, who will then forward them to the district.
Meanwhile, township board members are waiting for more information before they have a conversation on how they would like to proceed.
“The board in place now has shown interest in what’s available,” Pilchowski said. “But we need more information before we bring the issue back before the board and the community.”
In March 2011, the Board of Education voted to close Highland Middle School. A closure was deemed necessary to mete out a teaming approach the district is moving toward as part of an educational effort where students work closely with four teachers who collaborate together.
Highland Middle School is currently vacant. Baker Elementary School is temporarily being used for two summer programs, Safety Town and Summer Experience.
A second meeting between the district and Highland Township has not yet been scheduled.