Michigan School for the Deaf dedicates new building - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Michigan School for the Deaf dedicates new building

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(09/17/12) - Monday marks a new chapter in the long history of the Michigan School for the Deaf.

Students got out of class a little early, to celebrate a major milestone.

The ribbon cutting marked the official opening of their new 80,000 square foot building.

The audience included students, state education officials, community members and Martin Belsky worked at M.S.D. for 38 years. He last served as principal. "Tremendous, even though we will miss the old school building. But this is a fresh beginning for our students now."

That new beginning comes after a couple years of uncertainty.

First the state sold the M.S.D. campus to local developers. Then plans were announced to transform part of it into a new home for Powers Catholic High School. Not everyone liked those plans.

"Anytime you have a campus with a 150-year history, and any time that you downsize, it's difficult and change is tough for those of us to absorb who are new to it, but I believe in the end that they're very proud of their new school," said Dave Lurvey, with Lurvey White Ventures. That's one of the two developers who now own the property.

Students and staff showed that pride Monday. From this bright and sunny art room, to the new media center, to regular classrooms, everything is new and ready for this generation of learners.

"When you have state-of-the-art equipment you can prepare students today, and you can enhance programs so that you're ready to educate MSD students in the future," said Dr. Eleanor White, the director of the state's Office of Special Education.

Between 60 and 70 students live in the dorms on campus. Altogether about 135 students are enrolled this year. The upgrade is already paying off. "You build it they will come. Their enrollment's already up," Lurvey said.

Together, the M.S.D. and Powers project  comes with a price tag of about $36 million.

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