Fully rebuilt Ann Arbor school welcomes public back with open house

The fully rebuilt High Point School, Washtenaw County’s school for students with severe and multiple disabilities, welcomed community members to its first open house on May 19, following two years of construction and renovation during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"A lot of people driving by were watching the construction process as it was unfolding and wondering what we've been up to," says Ashley Kryscynski, Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) communications and public relations specialist. "We would love for everyone to come see what is going on inside this big, beautiful building. People often ask where their tax dollars go and here we have an excellent example of the community's support."

Voters approved a $53.2 million WISD bond in August 2019 to tear down and rebuild the original building, opened in May 1975. High Point School was originally designed to serve special education students with cognitive disabilities. Today, however, it serves kids with multiple severe disabilities, those who are medically fragile, and those with severe cognitive impairments. The new building is designed for better mobility and accessibility, and features specialized learning equipment and supports. 

"Since we reopened in January it's been really exciting watching our students and staff grow into the new building, essentially," Kryscynski says. "For so many years they were making it work with what they had before, and to see how they are thriving in a space that has been designed just for them has been pretty phenomenal."

Kryscynski adds that although High Point is located in Ann Arbor and designed for students with very specific needs, the school serves all of Washtenaw County and is a resource for the entire community.

"Even if you never have a student here or even if you don't know a student in our programs, our playground and two walking trails are fully accessible, and anyone is welcome to come and use them outside of school hours," she says. "We've been very intentional in having everything visible and easy to get to for any community member who would like to visit and take advantage of our resources."

Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at jaishreeedit@gmail.com.

Photo by Doug Coombe.