Editor’s Note: The Ebay auction raised $8,000. A number of bidders came forward after the auction to donate to the OCC Foundation. While initially reporting having raised $12,000, after verifying all donations, the final amount raised was $10,000.
Andrea Wilson, an Oakland Police Academy recruit and OCC Foundation scholarship recipient, was selected to hit the lever that started the implosion of the North Park Plaza building Sunday morning.
Top photo: Chancellor Tim Meyer thanks the donors for making the event a success. Bottom photo: OCC Police Academy graduate and scholarship recipient Andrea Willson readies to implode North Park Plaza.
Wilson was sponsored by an anonymous donor who made an $8,000 bid on an eBay auction for the opportunity. A number of other bidders came forward as well to donate their bid amounts to the OCC Foundation. The final amount raised was $10,000. All proceeds benefit student scholarships. At the close of bidding on Thursday, the top bid was $15,000. The $8,000 bidder, who wished to remain anonymous, was the first one to come forward and claim the prize.
“It was a very big shock to be asked,” said Wilson, 26, of Waterford. “I’m honored to have been chosen and grateful for the donor who will fund a scholarship for someone. Since I am a scholarship recipient myself, it felt really good to be able to help with this project.”
Wilson was awarded the “LJPR, LLC Guns and Hoses Scholarship” through the OCC Foundation, which goes to a self-sponsored police recruit with outstanding leadership, high academic achievement and excellent communications skills. Wilson is a recent OCC Criminal Justice program graduate and an active member of OCC’s Criminal Justice Student Association.
The Oakland Community College Foundation auctioned the opportunity to raise funds for student scholarships.
“It’s something I’ll be able to tell my kids one day, that I helped blow up a building. It was exhilarating. It happened real fast. There were a series of explosions and then it all went down all at once.”
Chancellor Timothy Meyer, who was initially offered the opportunity to hit the lever, decided to auction off the opportunity as a way to raise scholarship money.
“This is a momentous event that we are looking forward to sharing with the community,” Meyer said Sunday morning. “This is something that only happens once in a lifetime. The OCC Foundation was started in 1979 and was established to support scholarships for our students. And that is what this implosion is all about, the support of our students.”
The auction began Thursday, December 4, 2014, and concluded on Thursday, December 11, 2014. The bids were tax deductible, with all proceeds benefitting OCC students.
OCC acquired the North Park Plaza, a 17-story, 42-year-old, 340,000 square foot property in Southfield earlier this year. There are no immediate plans for the property, but the building is blighted and must be removed. An implosion was preferred as it is faster and minimizes the dust and debris better than a mechanical demolition.
The OCC Foundation was established in 1979 with the purpose to raise private contributions in order to provide opportunities for students and to enhance the quality of education at the College. A board of directors composed of volunteer community leaders governs the Foundation. Gifts support students through scholarships, equipment purchases and program development. In the 2013-2014 school year, it awarded approximately $150,000 to 230 students. To learn more about the OCC Foundation, visit http://www.oaklandcc.edu/Foundation/.
More updates will be made available at oaklandcc.wordpress.com.
With five campuses throughout Oakland County, OCC is celebrating its 50th year. OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. It offers degrees and certificates in more than 160 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. More than a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit http://www.oaklandcc.edu.