2 former Ferndale schools to be razed for housing: Here’s what it’ll look like

The former Wilson Elementary was closed last year as part of a restructuring in Ferndale Schools.

Two former Ferndale schools will meet the wrecking ball after the Labor Day weekend to make way for new housing developments.

The Woodward Talk weekly newspaper reports that the developer, Bloomfield Hills-based Robertson Brothers Homes, wants to demolish both Wilson Elementary and Taft Digital Learning Center by winter and expects to take two to three weeks on each building. It plans to demolish Wilson first and then turn to Taft.

Wilson was most recently the site of University High School, a college-preparatory school in partnership with Wayne State University that now operates out of the former Coolidge Elementary building. The Taft Digital Learning Center closed several years ago. Both buildings were sold last year by Ferndale Schools as part of a larger consolidation plan.

Taft, which until recently was used as a voting precinct location, is a solidly built school with loads of character.

Robertson plans to construct 28 single-family homes at what it’s calling Wilson Park Village and 72 townhomes at Parkdale Townes on the Taft site. Both sites are adjacent to city parks.

The company says it plans to install water and sewer infrastructure on the Wilson site and will aim to have it paved so that home building can begin in winter, President Jim Clarke told the Talk. Paving on the Taft site, which would include extending Gardendale Street south, will likely happen next year, he said.

Crews have already begun removing large trees from the Wilson site, and dumpsters were visible behind the building.

In an update on its website, the city says it struck an agreement with the developer to ensure it plants 74 new trees at the Wilson site, far exceeding the number that will be lost, replant three others and set aside at least 40 percent of each lot as unpaved, permeable open space.

“When undertaking a new development, it is often necessary to lose some existing greenery,” the city says. “However, Ferndale has strictly embraced a development process that considers all plant and tree life and maintains policies to ensure that the community’s tree canopy and greenspaces continue to grow, thrive, and evolve.”

The Talk quoted Mayor Dave Coulter as saying the developments will enhance the neighborhoods.

“It’s a unique opportunity for Ferndale, which is a city that hasn’t seen a significant increase in housing in decades,” he said.

Here are the renderings showing the types of homes planned for Wilson Park Village:

And here’s what the renderings for the Taft site look like:

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