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Deadline looms for developers interested in 3 Lansing school buildings

Jul 27, 2015

Developers have until tomorrow to tell Lansing school district officials what they would like to do with an iconic high school in the capitol city.

The future of Lansing's Eastern High School may be determined this week
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Children have been learning at Lansing’s Eastern High School for nearly 90 years. But the aging building’s future is unclear.

“Everybody likes the building,” says district spokesman Bob Kolt, “but it doesn’t meet the educational needs for the future.”

Kolt says rehabbing Eastern would cost more than 40 million dollars.  

So district officials are asking developers for their ideas.

The district is also asking developers if they would be interested in a former middle school and another school property on Lansing’s north side. 

Lansing is like many school districts, struggling to balance budgets, while maintaining aging school buildings.

“(School district leaders) really need to, throughout the state, look at their focus and mission, which is educating children and not really holding a lot of old school buildings that can’t be used anymore,” says Kolt. 

Kolt says the evaluation process of the developers’ ideas for the three Lansing school district properties will take some time. He says a decision may come this fall. But actual changes will be quite a ways off. 

Kolt says Eastern will remain a school for a few more years. That will give the district and students a chance to transition to a new high school. 

After that, the future of Eastern High School will depend on which developer’s plan is eventually picked.