EDISON MAX, ALSO REFERRED TO AS “ED MAX,” IS A CENTER PROGRAM OPERATED BY THE HAZEL PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT ON BEHALF THE OAKLAND INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL DISTRICT (ISD), which serves students across Oakland County with emotional and behavioral disabilities.
The program is staffed with Hazel Park teachers, social workers, psychologists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and support staff who not only help students in their home district but in areas such as Avondale, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Berkley, Ferndale, Oak Park, Madison Heights, Royal Oak, South Lyon, Walled Lake and West Bloomfield.
“We serve students in approximately 18 different districts within Oakland County. Our building is K-12, and has been housed in the Edison building since 2002,” explained Dr. Michelle Krause, Hazel Park’s Supervisor of Special Education.
“Prior to that, the high school part of the program was located at Hazel Park High, and the junior high and elementary programs were located at the former Beecher Jr. High building.”
Dr. Krause noted since the move very little has been done in the way of renovation or updates. “The building was built in the ‘50s and has needed work both cosmetically and mechanically,” she said. “About two years ago there was conversation at the ISD level that Edison needed to be more on par with our counterpart in the north, Kingsley Montgomery Center, which is located in Waterford and serves the northern district. Kingsley had a major renovation about seven years ago.”
THERE WERE MANY STEPS THAT NEEDED TO BE TAKEN BY THE DISTRICT to get the project approved, but Hazel Park accomplished these late in 2017 as a result of the support of both the ISD as well as the superintendents of Oakland County Schools. The project will involve a complete renovation of the existing building as well as the addition of square footage to serve students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as well as students aged 18-26 who have emotional disabilities.
“All furnishings will be new, and we will be adding several additional rooms such as an upgraded sensory room, a life skills room, a STEM lab and greenhouse,” Dr. Krause explained.
These programs will be temporarily housed in a separate location for the upcoming school year, but construction will finalize the following year. “The project timeline was for our program to be moved to a temporary location for the 2018-2019 school year during which construction would start at Edison. Construction would then be completed over the next year with a scheduled return to Edison for the 2019-2020 school year,” she said, noting everyone has had the ability to get involved in rolling out the Ed MAX program.
She said, “Throughout the process all stakeholders have been involved in the decision making. I was able to identify a school team to sit in meetings with architects, construction managers, and interior designers so that we could get input from the professionals who will actually utilize the building. It has been a very interesting process, and staff and students alike are extremely excited for the upcoming changes we will have in our new building.”