New Farmington Hills community center to open in 2020

Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market

If all goes well, Farmington Hills Special Services staff will start moving into a new community center in Spring of 2020.

That’s about how long it will take to remodel Harrison High School after the city takes ownership of the buildings and grounds in mid-October, 2019. Farmington Hills Director of Central Services Kelly Monico reviewed a timeline for this “very complex project” during a Monday city council study session.

Harrison entrance
A rendering created early in the process shows entrances for the proposed activities center and theater in the repurposed Harrison High building.

Monico said the process will engage virtually every city department, except for police and fire, and a project management team is already working.

“When we started to talk about the project… we had a lot of staff involved in it,” she said. “We really needed the entire team of Farmington Hills.”

Pre-project work underway includes testing and environmental and boundary surveys. The city will hire an “owner’s representative” firm, at a cost of $400,000, to be “the city’s eyes and ears through design and construction,” Monico said.

That firm will serve as liaison with every other player involved, assist in a year-long design and development process, meet with stakeholders, assist with bidding, and oversee other details, right down to furniture, fixtures, and punchlist items.

Monico said the city has received five responses to a June Request for Proposals to fill the position; council members will receive a recommendation within two to three weeks.

“The owner’s rep will be on board to assist with interviews for architectural and engineering firm,” she said.

Those firms will  meet with stakeholders to ensure “we’re getting exactly what the community needs, for the best price, Monico said. Proposals are due August 3, with a recommendation to city council in September. Total cost for all architectural and engineering services is expected to fall around $2 million.

Monico said the city will also hire a construction manager as contractor.

“They know the people who are doing the work here, they can guide us with staging the process,” she said. The firm will manage and handle payment of all subcontractors and provide a site superintendent.

A hiring recommendation for the construction manager is expected in late October to early November, Monico said, “and right after that, we’ll start working.”

The design process will be lengthy – from October 2018 through late summer 2019 – and that was a purposeful decision.

“We want to make sure we have all our ducks in a row and that we can meet all the city’s needs,” Monico said.

Trade packages will start bidding in late summer of 2019. Farmington Schools will vacate the building by mid-October 2019, but Monico said she hopes to work with the district to move up that date. Demolition is expected to begin in late October 2019.

Monico said the total project budget is not to exceed $20 million.

Council member Theresa Rich said she appreciated the forward thinking, but wanted to ensure that the city’s process would not disrupt Harrison’s final school year.

“I want to make sure we’re not getting in the way of educating our children,” she said.

City manager Dave Boyer said a lot of work is underway now, while the building is closed, or will be done after school hours.

“We’ve done that through the process,” he said. “Our goal is not to disrupt. They’ve been excellent to work with.”