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OCC Orchard Ridge approves $6.2 million renovation

One year from now, Oakland County Community College Orchard Ridge Campus' J Building is projected to be at the halfway mark in a $6.2 million repair and renovation project.

The restoration will address interior issues and waterproof the concrete plaza surrounding J Building, also called Tirrell Hall or the Student Center. While water leakage hasn't become a major problem in throughout the structure yet, the restoration is intended to prevent the issue from worsening.  The work on the interior will focus on renovation of study spaces and classrooms as well as improvements to the bookstore and cafeteria.

"It’s actually the largest building in the entire college," said Orchard Ridge President Jacqueline Shadko.

Funding for the project comes from 0.8-mills tax approved by county voters in 2010 which directs the resulting funds toward building restoration, technology upgrades, scholarships and new academic program development.


"If the timeline goes according to plan, construction will overlap the end of the winter semester, the summer semester and the always big fall semester.

'It will be a disruption, and we have a communications plan set up,' Shadko said, to alert those on campus about what areas to avoid during the project’s phases. The college’s website,www.oaklandcc.edu, will spread the word about what areas members of the public who come to the college for activities should avoid."

Read the whole story here.

City of Rochester plants children's garden

Rochester's organic community garden in Scott Street Park is expanding to include a designated area for children's gardening.

Organized by Dinosaur Hill, the new garden received $14,000 worth of supplies from Home Depot's Lake Orion, Rochester, Auburn Hills, Pontiac, Troy, Commerce Township and Sterling Heights locations. Home Depot employees also volunteered their time to assist Dinosaur Hill with constructing the new space Oct. 13.

Created in May, the Rochester community garden is approximately 80 feet by 100 feet and houses 42 plots. The new Children’s Garden is 30 feet by 80 feet with room for several planting beds, an area with benches for gardening and nutrition classes, rain barrel and composting demonstration areas and a small storage shed for tools and other supplies.

"It’s really going to be a very functional space, and it also should look very nice," says Sue Nea, executive director of Dinosaur Hill.


"The Rochester Community Garden was the first project for the newly reactivated City Beautiful Commission, which decided to create the garden in what it felt was an underutilized Scott Street Park. Since the organic garden opened in May, people have leased spots in the garden -- which is managed by Dinosaur Hill -- at a fee of $30 for Rochester residents and $35 for nonresidents."

Dig in here.

Lyon Township partners with U of M-Dearborn

Lyon Township has partnered with iLabs, the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Center for Innovation Research, to tighten the focus on the city's economic development efforts.

The township and iLabs have worked to create a 3-minute business survey for businesses in the township. The partnership was facilitated through the annual project eCities, which aims to benchmark the economic efforts and achievements of local governments.

The survey will help to communicate the needs of each business to Lyon's municipal government. That way, the township can help support the growth and development of each business -- as well as the community as a whole.
All businesses in Lyon Township are invited to take the survey on the township’s website. Click the Economic Development tab at the top of the page and scroll down to the eCities Business Survey icon.

Heritage Conference focuses on preserving the past

Oakland County will host their 2011 Planning Heritage Conference, Sept 21 at the Silverdome.

This year, the conference will focus on "white elephant" local and regional areas that have experienced demise, abandonment and re-purposing. The gathering will also provide guidance to communities seeking to save and promote their own forgotten "white elephants."

A registration fee of $35 includes breakfast, lunch, sessions and tours.

For more information, email the Planning Group or visit the Heritage Conference website.

Solar farm coming to Farmington's Mercy High School

DTE Energy's fifth solar farm will be fired up this fall at Mercy High School in Farmington Hills.

The roof-top photovoltaic system will be installed on 125,000 square feet of rooftop at the all-girls Catholic school on 11 Mile and Middlebelt Roads, within view of passersby. The cost of the project is $2.5 million and is part of DTE's SolarCurrents program, which promotes the use of alternative energy. DTE plans to spend more than $100 million on the SolarCurrents program, which has several facets.

The program aims to meet a state mandate for "ten percent of our generation to come from renewable sources by 2015," says DTE Energy spokesman Scott Simons.

"We're pleased that Mercy High School will be the first private high school to participate in SolarCurrents, which is one of the largest distributed solar programs in the country," Trevor Lauer, DTE Energy's vice president of marketing and renewables, says in a statement. "We're seeing that the program has encouraged the development of new renewable energy projects by providing financial incentives to nonresidential customers interested in solar energy."

Mercy, which has been designated a Green School, joins other solar farms at Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ford Motor Corp, General Motors Corp., and Monroe Community College, Simons says. They all are expected to participate in the program for 20 years. In return they receive discounts on their utility bills and payment to cover the inconvenience of construction.

Besides solar, DTE is building wind farms and creating sources of biomass and other forms for power. The utility is expecting to spend nearly $2 billion to do that.

The power generated will go into DTE's grid for all its customers to use, he says.

Source: Scott Simons, spokesman, DTE Energy
Writer: Kim North Shine

This article previously appeared in Metromode.

Lawrence Tech to build more campus housing

Lawrence Technological University plans to open a third dormitory by next fall. As more international students at the university would prefer to bike or walk rather than drive, the university has commenced planning for the new energy-efficient dormitory.

The dorm must still be approved by Lawrence Tech's university architect, Joseph Veryser, who said that sustainability must be more "than a tack-on" for the new structure. School officials have begun meeting with the Southfield Planning Commission to discuss zoning issues, land use and the site plan review for the 51,600-square-foot dorm before it goes on to Southfield's City Council.


Veryser, who is also the associate dean of the College of Architecture and Design, said the building would house only freshmen, both males and females, and would attempt to create a sense of community at the university. He said the dorm, which he anticipated would cost more than $30,000 per bed, would be about half-full the first year, then gradually reach capacity as the university's on-campus presence grows.

Read more here.

Lawrence Tech to get $55 million expansion

A $55 million academic complex is coming to Lawrence Technological University thanks to a major contribution from one of its former students, noted philanthropist A. Alfred Taubman.

The donation will pay for the construction of a building and expansion and physical connection of a complex where engineering, architecture and life sciences are taught, creating the Taubman Complex. The combined structure would also provide additional space for the College of Architecture and Design and growing biomedical programs within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Taubman, who studied architecture at the Southfield-based university in the 1940s, sees the gift as a way to thank the school that helped him become successful and also as a door opener for future students and graduates.

"Lawrence Tech made a big difference in my life, as it has for generations of young people working to build successful careers and fulfilling lives. I am immensely proud of my Lawrence Tech affiliation, and am delighted to provide support for the exciting new Engineering, Architecture and Life Sciences Complex," Taubman says in a statement announcing the gift, one of many to the his alma mater.

"With Mr. Taubman's generous support, we will be able to move forward with expanding and enhancing Lawrence Tech's academic programs in engineering, architecture and life sciences," Lawrence Tech President Lewis Walker says in an announcement. "This new building will greatly improve our facilities and open up new opportunities for faculty and students."

The gift was given in two parts: $1 million for the planning and development of the building construction and $10 million that comes with a challenge grant to be matched by $20 million in new contributions in three years. Construction of the building should be complete within 24 months.

Source: Eric Pope, spokesman, Lawrence Technological University
Writer: Kim North Shine

This article previously appeared in Metromode.


Royal Oak schoolkids win OakGreen Challenge

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson issued a challenge to Oakland County residents, businesses and schools in 2010 -- work together to reduce energy consumption 10 percent by 2012.

Over 190 schools competed in this year's OakGreen Challenge -- but  the principal of the winning school, Helen Keller Elementary School in Royal Oak, says they've been "living and breathing green ideas" for the past four years. The students work to maintain more than 15 environmental initiatives throughout the school, from bringing waste-free lunches on Wednesdays to recycling and adopting endangered animals.


"We started (in 2007) with a mentality of being green, and at that time we were a candidate to become an International Baccalaureate Primary Years School," Houghton said. That program includes a unit about sharing the planet and the finite resources on the planet.

"Right from the beginning we were working on that thematic unit in kindergarten through sixth-grade," Houghton said.

Find out more about the OakGreen Challenge winners here.

Oakland Community College invests $1.3 million in campus improvements

As enrollment hits record levels at Oakland Community College, it is investing in improvements to campus facilities.

The latest project, $1.3 million, will pay for improvements at the Orchard Ridge campus in Farmington Hills and the Royal Oak campus.

In Farmington Hills, exterior sealant and glazing on bricks will be replaced while the other project will replace lintels and brick masonry supports above doors at three buildings.

In Royal Oak, a shower is being converted into a science lab and multipurpose classroom and one of two parking structures on the edge of downtown will receive a new payment system on the first floor.

"We have in excess of 29,000 students enrolled, the highest we've ever registered," says George Cartsonis, director of communications for OCC.

Oakland Community College has five campuses and is the largest community college in Michigan -- 25th largest in the U.S., Cartsonis adds.

Source: George Cartsonis, director of communications, Oakland Community College
Writer: Kim North Shine

A version of this story appeared in Metromode.

$150,000 in grants available through Oakland County Parks and Rec

Cities, villages, townships, community parks and recreation departments, DD and schools -- all are welcome to apply for outreach programming support from the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission.

The Commission approved $150,000 to support the 2011 Recreation Assistance Partnership program. As an element of the Commission's Strategic Master Plan, the R.A.P. Program
helps serve all areas and citizens of the County of Oakland, and to create community through people, parks and programs.

Programming and bus transportation are just a few of the ways the R.A.P. Program brings parks to the people. In 2011, R.A.P. Program will offer support in outreach programming (Get Outdoors! Cache, GO! Bike and GO! Fish Clinics, Festival II, Bouncer and Mini Festival), day camp and program assistance, community collaborations and recreation collaborations.

Interested in applying for a grant? Want to find out more? Visit destinationoakland.com

The story at Ferndale Public Library is about going green

The biggest story going on right now at the Ferndale Public Library has nothing to do with the books, but with the building and the eco-minded, money-saving features that went into making it an award winner.

The library, which reopened two weeks ago after the green renovation was completed only to be followed by a destructive flood, has won an Honorable Mention as Green Project of the Year from the Construction Association of Michigan and is expecting to receive the prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The hope is to earn the highest LEED ranking of gold. The changes to the library are expected to save $13,000 a year in energy costs. "Green Library" is a distinction that more and more libraries are pursuing.

Architects Seth Penchansky and Dan Whisler, of Penchansky Whisler Architects in Ann Arbor, handled the design and Frank Rewold & Son was the construction manager.

The green construction features include the planting of eight varieties of sedum on two roofs of the library, a summertime sight that sometimes generates phone calls about weeds growing on the rooftop.

On the library grounds, under one grass and garden area near the entrance, and around an outdoor garden near the children's area, are a total of 16 bores 400 feet into the ground. They form the geothermal energy system that will heat, cool and ventilate the building.

In addition, the library has a rainwater reclamation system that filters the water and subjects it to UV light to be used for flushing toilets and for sprinkling plants.

There are also motion detector lights in places such as bathrooms. Low voltage fluorescents are deployed and coatings on the glass keep cold out during winter and warmth out during the summer.

"Most of these things you would never see," Sterritt says. "You have to know they're there."

Ferndale's is one of at least seven libraries to have received LEED certification, according to the Green Libraries Directory.

Harper Woods was the first to earn LEED certification in 2005, and the city of Hastings' was the first Michigan library to achieve LEED Gold certification in 2008.

City planners and librarians say as cities look to make municipal facilities more earth-friendly and money-wise, the number will increase.

Source: John Sterritt,  president of the Ferndale Library Board
Writer: Kim North-Shine

Chabad Yeshiva to build new student campus in Oak Park

Two Jewish learning academies in Oak Park will be expanding their campus from the current 12,000 square-foot building to a spacious 50,000 square-foot Yeshiva. Alan and Lori Zekelman of Bloomfield Hills will be underwriting the entire project.

The campus houses around 120 middle and high-school aged students that focus their studies on the Chabad Lubavitch form of Orthodox Judaism. Oak Park is within walking distance to many Jewish families in the area.


"In the early 1970ís, there were three hundred Orthodox Jewish families in Detroit; today there are one thousand. Throughout its rich history, Jewish life in Detroit has grown steadily," says Cohen. The new Yeshiva building will raise the numbers "of people who want to live in the main Jewish area. Itís a win-win, it helps cement the community."

Read the whole article here.

New middle school for girls opens at Cranbrook schools

Cranbrook recently completed construction on its first new campus building in decades, a 47,000 sq. ft. middle school for girls costing $16 million.

The state-of-the-art school has Smart Boards located in each classroom, as well as classrooms dedicated to sciences and the arts. It also features a gymnasium, library, dining hall, workout facility and athletic field.

"Clusters" for each grade provide the girls with their own classrooms, laboratories, commons areas and creative spaces for dance, choral music and drama.


Designed specifically for girlsí education, the building was intentionally located next to Cranbrook Institute of Science to give girls greater exposure to science. The green brick structure was designed to meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver criteria using rain collection, recycled materials, Michigan-made construction products and furnishings, and art created by Cranbrook-educated artists.

Check out the new school here.

Rochester is poised for new growth, opportunities in 2011

The Rochester community has the lowest unemployment rate in Oakland county and its business growth has a lot to do with it. Mayor Bryan Barnett said the city welcomed 27 new tech companies in just the past year, which, coupled with the recent launch of the OU William Beaumont Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Oakland's Eye Research Institute, help position the city as the educational anchor of the county's Medical Main Street initiative.

Continuing the theme of growth, Oakland University will introduce its first class of med school students this upcoming fall. They will reap the benefits of the new $62 million Human Health Building.


Crittenton Hospital Medical Center has been designated as one of only five centers in for robotic surgery by Intuitive Surgical System, maker of the da Vinci surgical robot, which can maneuver beyond the limits of the human hand.

Find out more here.

State funding will help break ground for new OU Engineering Center

A $30 million grant provided by the state of Michigan will help finance the new 127,000 sq. ft. home of Oakland University's School of Engineering and Computer Science, which will feature state-of-the-art classrooms and research space.

The funding comes from Michigan's FY 2010-2011 capitol outlay bill, which will provide $383 million in state funding to support over a billion dollars in capitol projects for the state's colleges and universities.

Construction of the building will help OU respond to its 13 straight years of record enrollment numbers, while enhancing the school's global competitiveness and reputation.

"We are extremely grateful that funding for the Engineering Center is included in the capital outlay bill, as we believe it will help expand our highly skilled workforce, advance research and foster technological innovation that will fuel the development of a 21st century economy in Michigan," says OU President Gary Russi.

Find out more about OU here.
96 education + learning Articles | Page: | Show All
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