GHAPS bond issue

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:02 PM

The Grand Haven Township woman said the current setup isn’t the most ideal as students often have to cross the street to get to their parents.

Parents who pick up their Lakeshore students now park along Seventh Street or use the parking lot near Cutler Street.

Traffic at Lakeshore Middle School and Grand Haven High School are among some of the items that would be addressed with the passage of a pair of bond proposals on the May 6 ballot for voters in the Grand Haven school district, school officials say.

Proposal 1 calls for a zero-tax increase, but it would generate about $36 million over the next 10 years. It would pay for 1-to-1 technology, infrastructure improvements, technology replacements, updated security cameras, bus replacements and student learning equipment, as well as roof and asphalt replacements.

Proposal 2 would increase the district’s debt levy by 0.47 mill, and it would generate about $9.69 million. The funding would include districtwide fencing, asbestos removal, improved traffic areas at the high school and Lakeshore Middle School, as well as athletic and arts improvements.

Proposal 2 is contingent on voters approving Proposal 1.

The owner of a home with a $100,000 taxable value would see a $47 increase in their annual property tax bill if the proposals are supported.

The district is also seeking the annual renewal of the nonprincipal residence levy of 18 mills on the May ballot.

Grand Haven Area Public Schools Superintendent Keith Konarska said they are working with the City of Grand Haven on a plan that would allow the parent drop-off and pick-up area along the Cutler Street side of the school to eliminate the need for students to cross the road. The traffic improvements are estimated to cost about $378,000.

“Further action will need to be taken by the city, along with the passage of the bond proposal, to move this plan forward,” Konarska said.

Elzinga, who has three children, said the school has tried different things throughout the years to alleviate the problem, but she likes the proposed solution.

“I’m all for anything that gets the kids closer to the school,” she said.

The changes at the high school campus are expected to cost about $1.2 million.

“A conceptual drawing of the road with a new parking area behind the baseball field has been developed,” Konarska said. “Specific details for changes in traffic flow for students, parents and buses are still being developed.”

Proposal 2 would also increase the square footage for art and athletic departments. Konarska said the district has been looking at the best way to repurpose and expand those departments as student participation has increased.

The improvements at the high school and Lakeshore Middle School would create additional classroom space, adding secure instrument and theater storage. The band room would increase from 1,895 square feet to 3,104 square feet. Uniform storage space would grow to 430 square feet, while the existing 108 square feet would be repurposed.

The bond would also fund the building of a 1,204-square-foot scene shop storage.

The White Pines Middle School Performing Arts Facility will receive updates. It was built in the 1960s, and the original seating and ceiling tiles need to be repaired.

The high school’s weight and wrestling rooms would be repurposed, and a new fitness/weight room would be built off the existing auxiliary gym, which would be used for instruction and athletics.

The district’s GHTV television studio at the high school would also move into a proposed 1,376-square-foot space, while the existing 1,100 square feet would be repurposed into music instructional space.

Buccaneer Stadium at Lakeshore Middle School would receive seat replacements. The bond would pay for synthetic turf and maintenance, and refinishing the gym floor at Grand Haven High School.

Since the bond proposal is a 10-year plan, Konarska said the district is including projects that would need to be addressed at some point during that time span.

Konarska said they feel it’s important that the community understands the bond proposals are planned to sustain the district’s needs over the next decade.

“In addition, we packaged the proposal to minimize the impact on our taxpayers, while maximizing the investment in educational facilities and programs,” he said.

Community informational meetings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13, at Robinson Elementary School; and 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 19, at Loutit District Library. The district will also tape a special edition of its “Issues and Answers” program focused on the bond proposals to air on GHTV Channel 98.


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