"Plans are being considered to resurrect Fleming School, just days after the historic Howell-area schoolhouse burned in a fire that officials said was deliberately set.
Howell Public Schools Superintendent Ron Wilson said district officials will discuss a proposal to build a replacement school this week with representatives
of the Fleming School Agency, the volunteer group that maintained the building. "The building was insured, and we are looking to rebuild," Wilson said. "We're hoping to sit down this week to discuss it."
The old building couldn't be restored, Wilson said. "It's a total loss."
There will be "a lot of discussion with everyone involved" before a final plan is adopted, school board President Mike Witt said. "If we moved the site, one thing we might be able to do is have it be slab on grade," he said. "That way, it could be handicap-accessible so everyone can enjoy it."
Closed as an elementary school since 1957, Fleming remained open a few days a year for school field trips, where students would dress, study and play in 19th
century style. Any new building would likely follow the old school's classic 1880s design. Several issues need to worked out, including the best site for a new building, Wilson said. "We need to determine whether we rebuild at the spot or whether we move it closer to our central campus," he said. Students from the district's vocational education class may be used to build the new school.
"It has been mentioned," Wilson said. "But if they were to be involved, it might push the project back a year." Students will be tied up until June, Wilson said, finishing a house they are constructing in Marion Township.
Howell Fire Chief Andy Pless said Monday the fire at the historic Fleming School was "intentionally set.We're calling it an arson," Pless said, though he declined to release too
many details, citing the ongoing investigation.