By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Voters in the Melvindale-Northern Allen Park School District may decide next spring whether to replace the aging Rogers Early Elementary School with a new facility outside of the flood plain.
The proposed site plan would keep Rogers School, 5000 Shenandoah Ave., Allen Park, in operation until after Shenandoah Street Elementary School is complete south of the current school.
Site plans revealed at an Allen Park City Council study session show a baseball field replacing the current soccer field, and an underground storm water retention area. The new school building would be outside of the estimated 100-year flood plain from Ecorse Creek, which runs north of the area.
The new plan calls for a separate park play structure north of the proposed new school, as well as separate pre-kindergarten and kindergarten, and first and second grade playgrounds southeast of the new school.
A staff and visitor parking lot southwest of the school would provide 136 spaces, with a lot northwest of the school providing 84 spots for overflow parking and to accommodate activities at the park.
The design accommodates a loop for 12 school buses, and a separate car drop-off lane for 20 vehicles. The school would serve preschool through second grade.
Allen Park Mayor William Matakas said some of the land impacted was part of the subdivision north of Rogers since the 1970s, and they are willing to turn the land over to the school district. He also said that by putting the retention pond underground, it doesn’t take up park space.
“I saw a drawing of the new school – it looks beautiful,” Matakas said. “This is all subject to Melvindale voting to approve a new bond issue.”
Matakas said he hopes to make a presentation to Melvindale city officials in October. He said the new school will be larger than Rogers.
Matakas said Melvindale’s school system is as large as Allen Park’s, if not larger.
“It’s all people who have moved in, early elementary, big families,” Matakas said. “Some families with as many as eight children, so they need to make a much bigger school.”
He estimates that roughly 30 percent of the voters are in the northern Allen Park part of the Mel-NAP district.
“I am glad they are going with that and wanting to put that school there, because it helps anchor our community, and is attractive to young people,” Matakas said. “If you’ve got really young children, you like them as close to the home as possible, so I am excited about it.”
Matakas said Melvindale officials seem optimistic about the likelihood passing a school millage.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected].)