Michigan Islamic Academy seeks to build new school on Ellsworth in Pittsfield Township
Ann Arbor’s Michigan Islamic Academy wants to build a new school in Pittsfield Township, where it also would have room to build a community center in future years.
The private school would have capacity for 360 students from pre-kindergarten through high school, giving the school - now based on Plymouth Road in Ann Arbor - enough room to expand in lower grades and eventually close the existing facility.
The school, now based in the Muslim Community Association of Ann Arbor, now has 198 students enrolled, according to building staff.
The location sought for the new school is a 26-acre parcel on the south side of Ellsworth Road where Golfside Road meets Ellsworth. The property is between Roundtree Apartments and the Ypsilanti Township border to the east, and homes in the Silverleaf subdivision to the west.
The school, said Pittsfield Township planner Paul Montagno, is seeking a rezoning from residential use to allow for the school. The property is the last part of the original 120-acre Silverleaf site that was not developed.
The Pittsfield Township Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposal at its next meeting, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Township Hall, Michigan Avenue at Platt Road.
The plans show the single-story school building built at the rear of the irregular-shaped lot that also includes wetlands that was set aside to serve the full subdivision.
Using the property for a school is allowed in residential districts, Montagno said.
“If anything, we’ll be making suggestions as far as layout to the site,” he said.
A planning report on the proposal noted that operating a school at the end of a single drive to the rear of the property left no other options for emergency access. Another concern was the configuration of the drive and parking, since all vehicle traffic would go through the parking area.
Planners also noted that the school building was just 50 feet from a home on Saffron Drive, so the location could impact the residential area, and that significant grading and tree removal would need to take place.
School officials did not return calls seeking comment.
However, staff indicated that the school would like to break ground by fall.
The Michigan Islamic Center previously announced plans to expand its existing building in Ann Arbor. The $1.8 million project would add 8 classrooms and a gymnasium. Unclear is whether that efforts continues.