In 1928, Webster H. Pearce, then Michigan State Superintendent of Public Instruction, proclaimed Fordson High School “the most beautiful [school] in Michigan.” Designed by Keough (1884–1957) of Detroit, the building set a new standard for academic structures. The design for the school was organized along a central spine to which wings representing various educational functions were connected.
Inspiration for the building was derived from the Lawyers' Club at the University of Michigan and from Memorial Quadrangle at Yale University, as well as Rushton and Apethorpe halls in Northamptonshire, England. Clad in seam-faced granite with Briar Hill sandstone trim, the school features a central crowned tower, stone-mullioned windows, hand-carved oak paneling and fireplace, painted wall murals by Zoltan Sepeshy, tapestries, and Jacobean fumed-oak furnishings. With a swimming pool, a greenhouse, laboratories, and an auditorium, a complete educational environment was put into place.
The addition is compatible, borrowing the spirit and stone building materials of the historic Collegiate Gothic school. It accommodates modern classrooms, a student-run spirit store, science and computer labs, and cafeteria and kitchen.