Oakland County college closing large campus, residents concerned about what site may become

Oakland Community College campus in Waterford to be sold

Oakland Community College is closing its Highland Lakes campus in Waterford and residents are concerned about what that might mean in terms of future development.

WATERFORD, Mich. – Oakland Community College is closing a large campus in Waterford and residents are concerned about what the site may become in the future.

It’s a game-changing decision few saw coming in Oakland County -- Oakland Community College is closing a large campus.

The Oakland Community College (OCC) Highland Lakes campus sits between Cooley Lake and Hospital Roads in Waterford and it was announced that it would be sold in three years.

Area residents are now concerned about what’s to become of the property they’ve enjoyed for so long.

For decades the campus has been a pillar in the community, whether for education, a 5K run or sporting events. But that is all about to change and residents in Waterford are deeply concerned about what the future holds.

The Highland Lakes campus is more than 150 acres of open fields, classroom buildings and wooded areas where locals like to hike and watch nature. On Friday, the college’s administration gave Local 4 a statement expressing that as one of the reasons it’s putting the massive parcel up for sale.

“In order to continue to deliver on our long-standing commitment to our students, OCC is reducing our footprint and selling our Highland Lakes campus in Waterford as we adapt to meet our students’ changing needs,” the college said in their statement. “We intentionally announced our plans three years early to allow Waterford Township to include this beautiful property in its master plan.”

A Facebook page was created shortly after that decision went public. A petition was started, looking to put Waterford Township on notice -- they do not want the property, graced with many trees and rolling green space, sold to a developer who might build homes on the land.

Jacquelynn Brown, the co-founder of Conservation of Waterford Lands, is right behind the 300+ neighbors who have signed the petition. “The trend has been to develop land for something and we don’t need to develop every single space,” she said.

She, like the concerned neighbors, worries about what putting more people into one of the state’s largest townships will do to already congested roads.

“We have multiple projects going on around town as we speak that are developing more subdivisions,” Brown said. “Let’s finish that first and see where we land as far as demand and supply for these housings.”

Brown is a lifelong Waterford resident and attended OCC. She and her neighbors opposing the sale see endless possibilities for what they call community enrichment and want to see the property stay largely the way it is no matter how this all works out.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Morgan is a Digital Editor and has been with WDIV since May of 2022. She is also studying political science and communications at Wayne State University.