DEARBORN — Dearborn Public Schools has purchased two buildings on the main Henry Ford College (HFC) campus to expand the Henry Ford Early College program.
The plan is to also move other services to the site.
The buildings are on the north edge of the college campus and were previously home to the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). The college purchased them several years ago.
The purchase of these buildings, which sit just south of Ford Road, will allow the Dearborn Public Schools to expand all three Early College programs — Henry Ford Early College Health, Advanced Manufacturing and the School of Education.
The Early Colleges are joint ventures between the Dearborn Public Schools and HFC where students attend the Early College for five years and can graduate with both a high school diploma and an associate degree or trade certification at no cost to the student’s family.
The district is also looking to shift other services to the new buildings to free up room in other parts of the district.
Dearborn Public Schools paid just over $2.1 million for the buildings, but the third building in the cluster will continue to serve as the college’s Welcome Center.
“We are excited to have acquired these buildings and it again shows the benefits of our great relationship with Henry Ford College,” Superintendent Dr. Glenn Maleyko said. “District students, who in this case are also college students, will only benefit from this change.”
The district is still finalizing plans for how it will expand enrollment as the three distinct programs have 570 students enrolled.
“We highly value our unique partnership with the Dearborn Public Schools and the Early College programs are a core part of how we engage and serve our community,” HFC President Russ Kavalhuna said. “We will be glad to have even more dual-enrolled students learning in these buildings on the college campus in the years to come. Early College programs are a fantastic pathway to a successful future for students.”
The original Henry Ford Early College is a three-way partnership between the district, college and Henry Ford Health where students can focus on medical careers and get to visit the Henry Ford hospital for rotations to experience different professions.
The Henry Ford Early College Advanced Manufacturing allows students to earn degrees or trade certifications in 10 technology-related fields such as automotive, electrical or machine tool technology, manufacturing trades, drafting and computer assisted design, and mechatronic maintenance.
The Henry Ford Early College School of Education allows students to work in education with options from paraprofessionals to an associate degree on the way to a bachelor’s degree in an education field. This is a program under the original Henry Ford Early College, not a separate high school. The Henry Ford Early College was the only high school in Michigan to be named a National Blue Ribbon School last year.
The district is also considering moving adult education to the new buildings to free up some rooms at the Dearborn Heights Campus currently occupied by the Michael Berry Career Center.
The district had hired French Associates architects last fall to help evaluate the buildings and develop remodeling plans to expand programs at the building. Both buildings have sat idle for several years and will require renovations, which preliminary estimates are targeting a January 2024 date for students and staff to occupy the buildings.
“Expanding the Early College programs will first and foremost serve our students by allowing more of them to graduate high school ready for the workforce or with a head start on a bachelor’s degree,” Maleyko said. “But expanding the Early College will also have the added benefit of relieving some of the stress of higher enrollment on our three traditional high schools.”