On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District hosted a groundbreaking ceremony as construction at High Point School continued. Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent Executive Orders signed by Governor Gretchen Whitmer, all commercial construction in Michigan was temporarily paused during the spring, including the abatement at High Point that had commenced on February 12, 2020. Abatement resumed and was completed in May 2020, and demolition began as soon as safely and reasonably possible. The official groundbreaking ceremony was delayed following recommendations by Governor Whitmer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Washtenaw County Health Department to minimize in-person gatherings until safer to do so.
“We are excited to resume the construction project at High Point, and we are grateful that we can do so in a way that keeps everyone involved safe and healthy,” stated WISD Superintendent Scott Menzel. Representatives from WISD’s administration and its Board of Education were present for the groundbreaking, as well as partners from the project’s construction management team: Clark Construction, Axiom Construction Services Group, TMP Architecture, and Mitchell and Mouat Architects.
Dedicated to meeting the specialized needs of students with severe cognitive and multiple disabilities, High Point School serves students from ages 3 through 26. Students from all nine public school districts in Washtenaw County attend High Point on a referral basis. As the only educational program in Washtenaw County designed to meet its students’ unique needs, students often attend High Point for up to 23 years. Washtenaw County voters approved WISD’s bond proposal to renovate and rebuild High Point on August 6, 2019.
The project delays caused by the pandemic have affected the construction schedule. Originally scheduled to re-open in August 2021, the district now anticipates that the new, reimagined High Point will be ready in November 2021. As the project moves forward, WISD will take multiple factors into account to determine the best start date for students in the new school building, including working with all stakeholders to minimize disruptions to instruction and monitoring the potential for a second spike of COVID-19.
“The High Point program embraces the incredible diversity of our students and is a model of inclusive educational opportunities in our community,” stated Naomi Norman, WISD’s Assistant Superintendent for Achievement and Systems Support and incoming Interim Superintendent beginning July 1, 2020. “I’m looking forward to our High Point students being able to learn in a facility that meets their unique needs.”
For more information on the High Point bond and construction process, click here. To see a live stream camera of the construction progress, click here.