It is obvious from correspondence that W.N. Ferris originally intended to have a partner in his new school. A letter written to him by H.R. Mills in May, 1883, indicates that Mills was ambivalent about locating the school in Big Rapids rather than Grand Rapids or Traverse City. Mills wrote that his friends preferred him to locate in Grand Rapids, but he would have to look further into the opportunities afforded there before deciding, and he reported that his contemplated future partner was not in favor of building in Big Rapids. "His father would not be willing to furnish means further than is necessary to purchase stock," he wrote.
Mills said that if they went to Big Rapids they would have to rent a building and take what they could get. "It would be wise to do this," he said, "and after we found out more about the town and country, drive our stakes deeper if the outlook continued favorable."
"Whether I go there or not," Mills said, "you could do well there all the same."
In his letter, Mills also reported that the school directors at Pittsfield were willing to take Ferris back at his own price.
Apologizing for his indecision, Mills urged him to reconsider Traverse City for the location of his school or the possibility of staying in Pittsfield. As usual, W.N. Ferris made his own decision.