University Liggett School is a prominent pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade private school in Grosse Pointe Woods, Michigan. The school hired Centerbrook to integrate its Middle School, currently on a separate site, into its main Cook Road Campus. The 16-acre grounds are organized around a 1928 building with extensive additions from the 1950’s and 60’s. Across the road are 23 acres of athletic fields and a hockey arena. Liggett was founded in 1878 and is the oldest continually-operating independent school in the state.

With an enrollment of more than 550 students and growing, Liggett’s needs have evolved since its last 2006 Master Plan which assessed its current and future needs; that plan called for substantial upgrades to the school building’s envelope, infrastructure, energy systems, and teaching spaces. Centerbrook carried out a new plan that suggested the Middle School could move onto the main campus for a more cohesive school and substantial economic savings.

As a first phase of implementation, Centerbrook’s design carefully weaves the Middle School into the current school fabric through the creative re-use of existing buildings and minor new construction. Centerbrook relocated and resized classrooms and offices to better meet their purposes; this lead to greater spatial efficiency. Middle School students will have their own identifiable and appropriately-scaled spaces within the larger campus. The Upper, Middle, and Lower Schools each have clear entrances as well as their own turf and yet shared venues like dining, auditorium and athletic facilities are easily available to all.

New site planning simplifies vehicle entry and drop-off for a more appealing arrival, greater safety, and additional parking.

The resourceful re-use of existing site and buildings has proved to be especially sustainable; it not only required less construction, the buildings also require less energy for more functional program.

Renderings © Centerbrook