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Demolition begins for Spring Lake elementary schools

Krystle Wagner • Jun 21, 2016 at 11:00 AM

SPRING LAKE — Although school ended for Spring Lake students less than two weeks ago, the elementary campuses have been busy with activity.

On Monday, construction crews started work at Holmes Elementary School, where the western-most wing is being demolished for a bus and auto loop.

Demolition of the southwestern portion at Jeffers Elementary School started Friday.

Demolition is expected to wrap up within the next two weeks, said Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton.

The projects stem from the bond proposals Spring Lake school district voters approved in May 2014. The project for each elementary school is slated to cost a little more than $12 million.

The renovated buildings and two-story additions are slated to open this coming fall.

See more photos of the demolition work at the Tribune photo gallery.

So far, construction projects have remained on time and on budget, Furton said.

Since April 2015, construction crews have worked on two-story, 45,000-square-foot additions at Holmes and Jeffers. The addition houses a 3,200-square-foot cafeteria and 4,800-square-foot gym, which are conjoined and can be separated by a partition. First- and second-grade classrooms will be on one floor, and the third- and fourth-grade classes will be on the other.

Classroom sizes grew from between 725 and 850 square feet to 950 square feet.

Holmes’ most recently renovated wing, current kindergarten classrooms and the way along River Street will remain and undergo renovations. The addition was built where the playground previously existed south of the building.

At Jeffers, the addition was built on part of the former playground on the north side of the school. The office area and third- and fourth-grade wings will undergo renovations for kindergarten and preschool classrooms.

Furton said the new additions need a few things, but they are almost ready for staff and students.

Renovations for the remaining portions of the old buildings have a nine-week window for work. Furton said he’s confident they will remain on schedule.

As crews worked Monday, community members slowed and stopped to watch the progress.

Cary Malaski and her son, Owen, were on a bike ride when they saw the demolition happening at Holmes. Owen, 9, said watching the demolition made him even more excited to return to school as a fourth-grader this fall. Although he has attended Holmes for the past few years, Owen said he’s not sad to see the old building go.

“I’m just glad we have a new school,” he said.

While the buildings hold a sentimental value to staff, students and parents, Furton said the current work is exciting.

“It’s really a sign of progress when you can see it start to be torn down and the sites restored,” he said.

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