Highland Park Community College
  • The first unit of Highland Park HIgh School, finished in 1915.

  • The second unit, finished in 1918.

Highland Park Community College
Highland Park, Michigan

Highland Park Community College
Glendale at Third
Highland Park, Michigan

Project Info


DiGeronimo PA
Administration/Programming/Architecture/ Historic Preservation

Project Cost

DiGeronimo PA worked with the college administration and Board of Education to develop a new Student Commons, an enclosed area for students to gather between classes, to post notices, to accommodate community and cultural events and to serve as an accessibility vehicle to the buildings on either side.

The remains of an old high school gymnasium stood derelict on the campus of the new Highland Park Community College. Destroyed by fire in 1975, the shell had been left exposed to the elements for six years. Some advocated for its resurrection, others called for its destruction and complete removal.

DiGeronimo PA’s vision for the new Commons kept intact the existing 1914 Gothic-style stone facade left undamaged by the fire. A consistency and compatibility was therefore achieved with the other buildings on campus. We designed a glass roof over the form to flood the interior space with natural light. A network of balconies, pedestrian walkways and corridors provide continuous, barrier-free access to the first, second and third floors of the two adjacent buildings.

At the main entrance, the elevator and ramp network take you to the main space, an area 72 wide by 127 long, three stories high, with a multi-level plaza enclosed by the sky light roof structure.

Connecting the East and West wings of the college, existing ramp walkways at the first and second floors have been retained and renovated while a new third floor pedestrian walkway is built to provide east-west barrier-free connections on all levels. The three level ramp corridors in conjunction with a new south elevator makes the horizontal and vertical pedestrian flow complete.

The resulting space, a multi-leveled sky-light area, will act as the main entrance to the Community College, as well as function as a Student Commons. Controlled by its design, the new area can be closed off from the college and used as a conveniently accessible gathering place for public functions.