GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) -- The Grand Rapids Board of Education will vote Monday, March 18, on whether to build the first new school in northeast Grand Rapids since 1965.

The vote follows a month-long feedback period, during which GRPS received input from more than 200 parents, scholars, staff and community members. Responses were gathered through an online form and during in-person forums at Aberdeen Academy and Palmer Elementary.

GRPS leadership has proposed building the new elementary school behind the current Aberdeen Academy, allowing learning to continue uninterrupted during construction. Once open in 2027, the school would replace Palmer Elementary and Aberdeen Academy.

This proposal was made after listening to families who had concerns about the initial recommendation in November 2023, which called for Aberdeen and Palmer scholars to relocate to a renovated space at North Park. Feedback to that proposal concluded the North Park location was too far away from where Aberdeen and Palmer families live.

Over the past month, northeast side families and staff made it clear that the Aberdeen location is preferred to the previously proposed North Park site.

There is also considerable excitement about the opportunity to learn in a new building, especially from scholars and staff.

The top concern from community members is the demolition of the historic Aberdeen building once the new school opens. The proposal to build new was made after it was determined that renovations would cost as much as $32 million, which would exceed 80% of the cost of building a new school. GRPS has committed to working with architects to see if it is possible to incorporate some of the unique features from the current building into the new school.

Based on feedback, GRPS will also prioritize green space on the property and consider giving the school a new name as it welcomes scholars from Aberdeen and Palmer.

The new school is expected to cost $35 million. If approved, it would be funded by the bond passed by voters in November 2023.

The vote will complete the framework for academic buildings in the Reimagine GRPS Facility Plan. Consolidation will bring more staff and scholars together, creating opportunities for better collaboration and more robust programming.

Next, GRPS leadership will begin an analysis of non-academic buildings to determine the next steps for consolidation.