New Grand Rapids school to be built in SW side neighborhood development

Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-08 20:01:51-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - A development project on the southwest side is looking to revitalize the Roosevelt Park neighborhood, but it includes something a little unusual: a new Grand Rapids Public School.

Eight partners are putting together the project, which includes affordable housing and healthcare options.  But, the school alone with a be a $20 million investment, expanding the Southwest Community Campus, a dual immersion Spanish/English program.

The Grand Rapids school board approved the purchase of the property Monday night for just under $1 million.

“We closed one or more school every year for 20 years," John Helmholdt of GRPS tells FOX 17. "And so the fact that since 2012, which was the last the last time we closed schools, that we are now opening new schools, opening innovative schools, expanding new schools. That’s the sign of a vibrant urban school system that’s on the rise. We’re investing for growth.”

The development includes five and a half acres of land at Plaza Roosevelt which will include an expanded healthcare clinic with a new pharmacy and 48 units of affordable housing. The Dwelling Place and Habitat for Humanity are working on that end of the project, along with Saint Mary's and Mercy Health. The healthcare center that is currently at the corner of Franklin Street and Grandville Avenue will expand with additional services, including a pharmacy.

The development is a block away from the current Southwest Community Campus, which serves pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.  It will expand its bilingual education through high school.

The school will be a GRPS "theme school" with a customized curriculum, so there will be a special application process and an attendance area boundary of the entire Roosevelt Park neighborhood.  Construction is expected to start in the spring and the school should open in the fall of 2020.