Throughout the upcoming months, the Fruitport Community Schools Facilities Committee will look at each of the district’s buildings to assess needs and costs associated with fixes. They are also looking at how they can meet the community’s needs.
The committee formed in the fall, and the public is encouraged to join and participate in its meetings.
Before touring the high school that was built in 1955, Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak broke down the district’s general budget of about $28.5 million. He explained that they must continue to make cuts because of funding levels.
“If we want to do something different with our buildings, we have to ask the community to support that,” Szymoniak said.
Szymoniak said the facilities committee is part of the district’s strategic plan, and the group is a way to partner with the community to address a variety of needs. As of now, the district doesn’t have a plan for a bond, but that could change if the committee recommends that direction.
“We are a long way from making any determination on that end,” Szymoniak said.
During a previous meeting, the committee developed a “wish list” of items they would like to see for the district’s technology, athletics, safety and security, as well as community needs. Items on the list include a community/fitness center, 1-to-1 technology initiative and improved security entrance points.
John Winskas, operations director for Fruitport Community Schools, highlighted some of the needs that should be addressed at the high school — such as its 15-year-old boilers, portable classrooms, locker rooms, the building's roof and additional security cameras.
Winskas was joined by high school Principal Lauren Chesney and Assistant Principal Rob Rogers Jr. in leading a tour of the building so they could see the conditions for themselves.
Fruitport resident Jeff Fielstra said a lot of people think that having a building is good enough, but it needs to be sustainable and one that students can thrive in.
Fielstra, who has two children in Fruitport schools, said being part of the committee is important because it gives him a chance to have input on the future of the district's buildings.
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