When it came to building the new high school, officials chose a general contractor with decades of experience — Sorensen Gross Construction Company.
According to the company’s website, “Sorensen Gross has a 90-year tradition of integrity, quality and excellence in the construction industry, and our history has a lot to do with who we are today.”
Sorensen Gross Construction Company was founded in 1925 in Grand Rapids by John Sorensen and Robert Gross. The company moved to Flint in 1927 and quickly established itself as the city’s premiere builder. In 1966, Ghassan Saab, CEO, joined Sorensen Gross and soon realized the opportunity to lead a company with a solid reputation and a loyal, competent staff.
Some of the recognizable projects built by
Sorensen Gross include: Bishop International Airport, Flint Institute of Arts, Flint Institute of Music, Whiting Auditorium, Mott Community College, General Motors Buick City, Genesee County Courthouse, Genesys Health Park, Hurley Medical Center, McLaren Hospital, and multiple buildings for University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Flint.
In the March 1970 open house and dedication program, the new Fenton High School is not only a visible example of educational planning and construction, it is a functional example of the willingness of the Fenton community to provide quality facilities and services for youth and adults.
“Therefore, this high school is a symbol of the enduring belief of the people in the Fenton Area Public School District in the values of education. Your Board of Education appreciates the total community support which made this facility possible,” according to the program.
The Board of Education at the time included President Ray S. Rausch, Vice President Richard A. Beardsley, Secretary Marion J. McNab, Treasurer Curtis A. Schupbach, and trustees G. Winifred Koop, Ralph D. Ettinger, M.D. and Thomas B. Merrill.
Administrators were Superintendent George T. Telgenhoff, Principal Josef Horak and Assistant Principal LeRoy Decker.
The mechanical contractor for the building was Davaney Plumbing & Heating, Inc., and Harlan Electric Company was the electrical contractor. The architect was Louis C. Kingscott & Associates, Inc.
The new high school had a number of special features that included:
• Public address system throughout
• T.V. control room and studio and studio T.V., receiving conduit to all rooms
• Large group instruction rooms
• Library with individual study areas and audio visual educator laboratory
• Photography laboratory
• Publications room
• Teachers offices and work areas
• Auditorium with professional stage and dressing areas
• Integrated light and air fixture in library, cafeteria and lobby
• Air-conditioned auditorium, cafeteria and offices
What many don’t realize is that the administration building and athletic facilities also were part of the high school construction project. The costs of the entire project are broken down as follows;
• High school building construction — $4,064,182
• Administration building construction — $120,399
• Site, landscaping, athletic facilities and utilities — $659,084
• Special equipment — $447,641
• Sewer, water — $212,521
• Architect, legal and finance fees — $331,146
• Moveable equipment — $205,000
• Site purchase — $168,655
• Capitalized interest — $43,000
TOTAL — $6,251,628
• The school site covered 120.9 acres
• The building could house 1,250 students
• There was parking for 1,250 cars
• The cafeteria could seat 500
• The auditorium could seat 636
• The gymnasium could seat 3,200
• There was seating for 140 in the library
• There were 1,188 student lockers
• The swimming pool could accommodate 100
• In the stadium there were 750 seats for spectators and
total seating of 3,000