By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — The Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education is looking at options for updating the current administrative building and deciding the future of the former Howe School building.
During a special meeting Oct. 5 the board went over options involving renovations for the administrative center or moving administrative services to a different location.
A former elementary school, the current ASC building was not built for administrative services, which was the most talked about issue by board members.
“We would need to renovate to help the building flow more smoothly,” Supt. Glenn Mayleko said. “A new layout would help better serve the public and improve customer service.”
Funding for the renovations would come from the $1.9 million of the $70 million S.M.A.R.T. bond used to upgrade buildings throughout the district.
“Technology updates, space for Human Services and customer service would help better serve the district,” Mayleko said. “We could also move adult special education classrooms here to free up space at the Dearborn Heights campus.”
The 40,000-square-foot building was built in a field in the 1980s and has a good structure, DPS Director of Operations Jeff Burek said.
“Major relations would include parking lot and roof upgrades, with 75 percent of the original building remaining the same,” he said.
Trustee Mary Lane said one issue was the difficulty of finding the building because of it’s location in the neighborhood.
To earn more money to complete renovations, Trustee Joseph Guido brought up the idea to sell additional land the ASC building sits on to the city.
Trustee Mariam Bazzi said she likes the character of the current building and that it was a former school in the district.
Trustees each agreed that the option of staying in the current building and renovating would be the best for the district.
Since discussion occurred during a special meeting, the board could not formally approve the option to begin the renovations. Instead they made a motion for Burek to create a plan for the building.
“A full decision should be reached by November to begin construction in the spring,” Burek told the board. “We will create a study, bring it to the board for approval, get state approval and being construction next year.”
The board also discussed the option for the now vacant Howe School whose programs were moved to the district’s Dearborn Heights campus last year.
The building is on a 10-acre lot across Oakwood Boulevard from Beaumont Hospital-Dearborn, which was to be considered the top company with interest for the property.
Since it was placed on the market with a list price of almost $3 million in December, no offers have been made.
“Six crews have walked through the building recently, but no offers have been submitted,” Burek said. “The roof is beginning to deteriorate and there is visible asbestos as well.”
Trustees spoke about possibly demolishing the building, which would cost about $400,000. Maintaining the building is currently costing the district $2,000 in heating costs each month.
No final decision was made by the board during the meeting, but they moved forward with getting estimates from various companies for the building demolition.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)