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School district plans $17M renovation of high school

May 5, 2017
TAGS GRCC / GRPS
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GRPS Ottawa Hills High School computer lab students
Students work in a computer lab at Ottawa Hills High School in southeast Grand Rapids. Photo via fb.com

A local school district is planning to renovate a high school into a "center for college preparation and career technical education."

At her annual State of Our Schools address last night, Grand Rapids Public Schools, or GRPS, Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal said the district will invest $17 million to "transform" Ottawa Hills High School, at 2055 Rosewood Ave. SE.

In a joint venture with Grand Rapids Community College, GRPS will launch its first Early Middle College program at the renovated Ottawa Hills High School.

“This is a partnership with GRCC where students will be with us for five years, and when they graduate, they will have both a high school diploma and an associate degree at no cost to the students,” Neal said in her speech at GRPS University.

“That’s a $7,000-plus value and a major leg up for our students.”

Renovations

Neal said part of the major renovation at Ottawa Hills will include an “innovative career technical center,” which will offer education in technology, homeland security, engineering, cosmetology, communications and marketing.

“My team has been researching models and best practices and will continue to do so over the next year to further develop this program,” Neal said.

Four-year college pipeline

Neal said program's partners will include historically black colleges around the U.S., allowing GRPS Early Middle College graduates to enroll in those schools.

The first such pipeline agreement was confirmed with Florida A&M University before Neal’s address.

The university will award up to nine $50,000 scholarships to qualifying students for the 2017-18 academic year.

“I want this community to know I am staking a flag on the revitalization, growth and success of Ottawa Hills High School,” Neal said.

“It’s time this community rallies behind Ottawa and helps create this opportunity for our kids.”

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