Last August, voters in the Port Huron area approved a bond plan proposed by the area’s School District, amounting to a total of $105.9M. This bond plan’s approval meant that homeowners would be receiving additional takes, for example, a homeowner with a property value of US$100,000, would spend an additional $87 a year in taxes, a price that a notable amount of homeowners found acceptable for school chairs for kids and ensuring the best environment for their children.
The bond plan was approved after fighting rejection the year prior, and was cut-back from the initial proposed cost of $153M. The August vote led to plan approval after a close battle, with approving votes totaling at 5,712 against negative votes at 5,498.
Following the close victory, the school administrations began the planning the process as to which the bond fund would be use. It was then decided that the bond would be done across three phases, each a year’s length, with a different building for each phases.
The past few months, work on phase one has been underway, which lead to WiFi upgrades and the start of construction for an Early Childhood Center for the first school, Crull Elementary, costing about $10.5M.
The bond plan is underway, and is set to tackle the first four schools in due time, which were decided by the plan board. Superintendent Jamie Cain said that every school was placed in a phase that was determined based on how much work was necessary for improvement, whilst ensuring minimal disruptions for the students’ day-to-day learning.
In the initial, rejected proposal last May, the first target was Kimball Elementary, which Cain described as being in such poor condition as to need demolishing and rebuilding.
The new bond plan’s timeline will first go after Crull Elementary, Michigamme Elementary, followed by Woodrow Wilson Elementary and then Holland Woods Middle School. Kimball Elementary was moved to the tail-end of the timeline, set to be worked on at the later phases of the bond plan.
The work for the four initial recipients is estimated to be worth about $10.8M. The work on these buildings is scheduled to be completed before the return of the students for the 2017-2018 school year.
Initial preparation for the work on the schools involves the cleanup and renovation of each school’s gymnasium over the course of the Spring Break, wherein afterwards, the gymnasiums will be used as storage space for supplies, school chairs for kids, and the like, whilst the rest of the school’s interior is worked on.
One of the biggest improvements set to be made to the learning environment of the children, is the addition of new, flexible furniture to replace the old and outdated one. The new furnishings will cost approximately $1.4M.
A teacher at Crull Elementary, Jennifer Monaghan, stated that the current furniture in use was old, outdated, and prone to breaking, forcing the kids to move.
Additional changes include improvements to the PA system, STEAM education integration, as well as more laboratories, and art rooms for the children.
Executive Director Theo Kerhoulas stated that the aim of the renovations was to ensure that the schools would be new and improved, and that people would immediately feel such when they walk about the premises.