IA building is set to be vacated for next school year

Julia Roeder '25, Page Editor

Above is an image of the IA building which hosts the majority of art classes such as photography, computer graphics and ceramics. (Margot Murphy ’23)

During the March 20, 2023 Grosse Pointe Public School System Board meeting, the Board of Education voted to vacate and move all classes in Grosse Pointe South’s IA building.

Souths IA building (Industrial Arts Building) adjacent to South’s football field, currently is home to the art department and other assorted classes. The Board of Education voted to move all classrooms into the current Girls Gym at South, after being presented seven different possible outcomes for the building.

‘‘Factors for making this a difficult decision were financial constraints, we don’t have unlimited money,’’ Grosse Pointe Public School System’s Superintendent Jon Dean said. ‘‘Everybody agrees that the current IA space is not perfect, but it is always hard to figure out what the next best place would be when students, parents, teachers and School Board members all have a voice in the decision.’’

The building will be left vacant and not in use after the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year. The project is projected to cost the approximately $6.4 million coming from Grosse Pointe School’s bond money.

‘‘We did ask for another option looking at working on the IA building to not do the move. To please the Art department in exactly what they were looking for in this move the cost was between five to eight million more than option seven (the option chosen),’’ Board Member Sean Cotton said. ‘‘And we can’t afford it…so when looking at the numbers it doesn’t make sense to do anything but option seven (the option chosen) at this time.’’

The IA building itself was constructed in the 1940s. The building is in need of new renovations that would cost the district more than the move. Chair of the Art Department and Ceramic’s teacher Tom Szmrecsanyi has been in contact with the district, communicating the needs of the art department.

‘‘The reason for the move is a bigger picture item that involves declining enrollment, new more efficient heating and cooling, and so it was deemed to be a cost effective solution,’’ Szmrecsanyi said. ‘‘The art departments, myself and other teachers have worked on a solution for the art department.’’

Currently south has three gyms, all in active use for sports teams. The move will involve moving two current art classes into the Girls Gym, or ‘’The Practice Gym’’, one classroom into the current Girls Main Locker Room, and one classroom in the current lecture hall (S building).

‘‘All classes currently available will be available after the renovations,’’ Dean said. ‘‘The IA building will still be open for classes for the first semester of the 2023-2024 school year, after first semester it will be vacant.’’

The Board voted 6-0 to pass the consolidation of the IA building plan.