School district, city officials exploring joint administrative building

Photo by Scott Bewick

The ADP building may be the future home of Dearborn city officials and the Dearborn school district.

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – Dearborn City administration and the Dearborn Public School Board of Education could soon share space.

City and school board officials said Jan. 20 they are considering moving into the Automatic Data Processing, Inc. building, located next to a city-owned lot near Henry Ford Centennial Library, and sharing office space.

“If this makes sense and if it saves taxpayer money we ought to do it,” Dearborn Public Schools Supt. Brian Whiston said.

The 54,000 square foot Administrative Services Center, 18700 Audette, needs a new roof in addition to other repairs, Whiston said, adding that no major money has been put into it since it was opened in the 1950s. When he was named superintendent in 2008, it had a five- to 10-year shelf life remaining and costs to repair the building add up to about $3 million.

“We’re at the point,” Whiston said, “of whether we want to save the building or move.”

Whiston said the new building must have about 35,000 square feet for the districts’ offices and, with the shared council chambers and board meeting rooms, about 80,000 to 100,000 square feet is needed.

He said no definite plans have been made, but city officials and the board are exploring each buying a portion and agreeing to share the remaining spaces’ cost.

Discussions between the board and school district residents will be held at a later date, Whiston said, adding the district is looking to move quickly, within the next few months.

Dearborn Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. said the new building meets the city’s needs for space and potential cost efficiency. One secretary could handle the workload for the city and school district, he said.

“This week the staffs toured the building,” he said, “And if it’s feasible, we could go in there and reduce overhead.”

He said the current City Hall, if vacated, would likely be used for housing or preserved as a historical landmark. Built in the 1920s, the cost to repair the parking garage is more than the building’s value, he said.

O’Reilly did not give a potential cost for the project but said there was no definite timeline, as the ADP building is in bankruptcy court.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at