GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (GRPS) -- The Grand Rapids Board of Education unanimously approved a plan Monday to build a new school on the site of Aberdeen Academy.

The new elementary school will be the first new school built in northeast Grand Rapids since 1965. Once open in 2027, it will replace the current Aberdeen and Palmer school buildings when they close.

After the new school opens, the current Aberdeen building will be demolished to restore greenspace to the neighborhood.

Monday's vote, coupled with a unanimous vote in December 2023, outlines how the district will invest $305 million in bond dollars approved by Grand Rapids voters.

The approved Reimagine GRPS Facility Plan calls for improvements throughout the city, including a new environmental science academy at Ken-O-Sha Park, a new Montessori PK-12 campus at Riverside, and significant renovations to Mulick Park, Campus and Southwest elementary schools.

The plan will also close 10 buildings over the next 4 years:

  • Brookside - 2026
  • East Leonard - 2024
  • Fountain (Grand Rapids Montessori Academy) - 2026
  • Jefferson (Southeast Career Pathways) - 2025
  • North Park - 2026
  • Palmer - 2027
  • Sherwood Park - 2026
  • Stocking - 2024
  • Wellerwood (North Park ECC) - 2026
  • Westwood - 2028

All scholars moving to new school homes will move to educational spaces in better condition. No layoffs will occur. The closures will save the district tens of millions of dollars in maintenance costs, allowing funds to be reinvested into scholars and staff instead of empty building space.

“This is great news for our scholars on the northeast side who will enjoy the benefits of a brand new space. It’s been many years since we’ve placed a newly constructed school on the northeast side,” GRPS Superintendent Dr. Leadriane Roby said. “We can’t wait to break ground and see what this new space means for our scholars.”

Following building closures, the district will gather feedback from the community on what will happen at these sites in the future. Considerations could include affordable family housing, green space, parkland, or other uses that would benefit the community and the school district as a whole.

With an approved plan for academic buildings, GRPS leadership will now focus on a recommendation for non-academic buildings to determine the next steps for consolidation.