Thursday, March 11, 2021

City may convert school into community center

Members of the Westland City Council have approved a conditional purchase of Marshall Upper Elementary School from the Wayne Westland school district.

The approval for the purchase of the 120,000 square foot building is dependent on a 120-day due diligence period during which city professionals will evaluate the Bayview Street building closed by the school district last year.

The building is being considered as a potential recreation, senior and community center. 

If the purchase meets the needs of the city, and a sale of the building is approved by the members of the Wayne Westland Board of Education, a purchase price will be negotiated, officials said. The abandoned school already has a gymnasium and track along with baseball, football and tennis facilities.

The building also has an auditorium and music rooms in addition to the classrooms.  Mayor William Wild said that many community centers and senior centers are now offering many classes, making the classrooms ideal for city use. Wild also said the building is centrally located in the city and would be an addition to the assets of the community. Currently, Westland does not have a dedicated recreation center.

Wild noted that the current senior center in the city is very busy and out of room for the services and activities utilized by Westland seniors. He said the addition of the space at Marshall could ease that situation and allow the city to offer more activities and senior services. 

“Westland has had great success repurposing vacant buildings. Circuit City (city hall), Jefferson-Barns Elementary (community center), WLND Cable Building (community theater). Marshall School is 120,000 square foot of pure potential,” Wild posted on social media.

While the school building and property are not listed for sale, should the city purchase or even lease the site from the schools, the district could potentially save up to $1 million in demolition costs at the site, officials said. 

Officials said that before taking on the renovation at the Marshall building, should a sale or lease be negotiated with the school district, there would be an outreach survey to determine the needs of the community.