Farmington Schools, Steppingstone deal falls through

Farmington Public Schools (FPS) has withdrawn from negotiations to purchase a car dealership turned private school property on Grand River.

Trustees talked last year about purchasing the sprawling site from Steppingstone School, which serves gifted students in grades K-8. Founded in 1981, Steppingstone moved in 2009 to the former auto dealership, which had been renovated using “green” technology.

The property would have housed the district’s bus garage, currently located on Raphael between 10 Mile Road and Shiawassee in Farmington. FPS officials hope to sell “the hill,” which is also home to other administrative services, for private development.

The purchase price was expected to exceed $1 million, plus the cost of renovations – and that’s where negotiations hung up.

“During our due diligence work, it was determined that the cost of remodeling the existing building and modifying the site up to the needs of the Transportation Dept. was cost prohibitive,” district spokesperson Diane Bauman wrote in an emailed statement. “Therefore, the FPS Transportation Department and buses will remain at the current location.”

The agreement included the lease of classroom space in the former Highmeadow Common Campus building in Farmington Hills for use by Steppingstone. Bauman said students have occupied the building  since August of 2018 and will remain through July 30, 2019.