'Super school' proceeds

After months of committee discussions and community planning sessions, the Spring Lake school board voted 6-1 Monday night in favor of a bond campaign for what they are calling Concept C — building one elementary "super school" to house grades K-4, along with other upgrades throughout the district.
Krystle Wagner
Jun 25, 2013

 

Spring Lake Public Schools Superintendent Dennis Furton presented the recommendation formed by an internal review committee made up of board members, administrators and district employees.

The committee’s recommendation for Concept C asks for a bond not to exceed $60 million paid over 30 years. The bond would raise the district's debt levy to 7 mills, an increase of 0.569 of a mill.

The bond proposal will go before voters on Nov. 5.

If the proposition passes, the owner of a home valued at $120,000 would see an increase of $34 a year on their property tax bill. For the owner of a $200,000 home, that would mean an increase of $57 a year.

Furton said the reoccurring theme throughout the discussions involved safety, security, forging a common vision and 21st-century learning.

Concept C calls for:
• One school for grades K-4 with upper and lower elementary wings, and shared facilities
• Major remodeling at the intermediate/middle school, upgrades at the high school
• Relocate bus/maintenance facility to township site
• Remove portable classrooms
• Maintain stadium at village location
• Improved traffic patterns
• Additional parking and practice fields at the high school

As school districts throughout the state tighten their belts and reduce staff, the Spring Lake district is seeking a community-supported bond to further learning in the 21st century.

Furton said the district's 60-year-old buildings are costing them money in inefficiencies.

“Infrastructure needs are costing us precious operational money,” he said.

The new elementary school would be about 100,000 square feet with wings for upper and lower elementary grades. Furton said the design is “much more economical” compared to the current two-school arrangement.

The district doesn’t yet have building designs, but has plans of what concepts would look like, depending on the yet-to-be-determined location of the school.

Furton said the district has identified a location that would suit the buildings’ needs, but has yet to enter into a binding contract. District officials would pursue negotiations to purchase land if the community passes the bond, he added.

If voters approve the bond, the district anticipates seeing a decrease in operational costs by about $150,000 a year, or about $4.5 million throughout the bond's 30 years.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

waterbreak192

Tough vote ahead for a "Sam's Club"-type school. Spring Lake residents are generally supportive when it comes to financially supporting their schools. In this case, however, it seems like many of the usually supporters are against this concept. I've listened to many local residents voice their displeasure of the Super School, comparing it to Sam's Club or Costco. Bigger is not always better. It will be a tough sell for the school board, but this voter is open to learning more about the merits of the plan and finances.

ohreally

Water I agree 110%. I think this will be a very tough sell to the community. There are some deep roots in Jeffers and in Holmes. While I think a k-4 "super school" could work, I dont know that it's the most appropriate use of taxpayer funds. I personally liked concept B even though it was the most expensive. I felt it met the most needs of the community. Just my two cents.

toosense

ohreally you say "I dont know that it's the most appropriate use of taxpayer funds".

Did you know that if they were to build 2 separate elementary buildings it would cost the district $15 million dollars more in capital, operating, and replacement costs?

I think Concept C is clearly the better use of taxpayer funds. It's true that some won't be happy because they won't get their ideal situation but district needs to operate within today's reality. Don't they?

 

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