Lake Orion Community Schools bond work progress continues through summer

By Megan Kelley

Review Writer

During their July 24 meeting, Lake Orion Community School’s Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Heidi Mercer gave an in-depth look at the current state of bond progress.

Mercer and Communications Director Mark Snyder walked the board through the newly- updated Bond Implementation pages on the district website.

Anyone interested in viewing the progress on each individual project can now do so using an interactive map. Each project description will list more information as work progresses. Additionally, the bond process is now laid out clearly on the site.

During Mercer’s and Snyder’s website demonstration, Trustee Jake Singer took the opportunity to build on and clarify an earlier statement regarding community engagement and allowing public comments on projects.

Singer’s previous comments caused Superintendent Marion Ginoplois to raise concerns about inviting a situation where the public comes in and makes demands that the district cannot accommodate.

“By engagement…engagement is involvement information, that’s being engaged,” said Singer. “Webber (Elementary), Orion Oaks (Elementary), Carpenter (Elementary) you can have a meeting because the core of people who are going to be most interested in that are going to be parents. So, you have a meeting some night of the week and you say, ‘Hey come on in,’ and it’s a question at when in that process we do it. Again, it’s not looking to say, ‘Hey, we’re looking for your input to change things,’ but I really want the community to understand how we are planning to put that out for bid.”

Several board members agreed that holding meetings at individual schools was a good idea.

“I think at the time we’re going to do it, then you can give them specifics,” Singer said. “I just learned at the last Webber (Elementary) design meeting that knocking down the old wing is not going to happen in the summer. So the new bus loop will open when it’s available, but those parents are really going to have those questions about ‘How are my kids going to get through the building?’ and at that point we can say, ‘Look, we’ll cut a hole in the building here and the building will go over there’ or ‘they can do everything outside,’… how will it interact with the playground? So those are the types of questions, when I say engagement I want to make sure we’re able to answer those before we put these out to bid because once they’re out to bid then we’ve locked in what we’re doing.

“But if something came up, it would be a shame that we didn’t consider something that the public might have asked in a Q&A that could be addressed. I want to make sure that we give the people in the community who have these good suggestions a chance to give them,” Singer said.

Also in Mercer’s update, a bid was awarded for high school teacher chairs. This rounds out the new equipment that those teachers will receive for the upcoming school year. High school teachers will be receiving individual laptops, moveable workstations and new chairs.

The high school is also in the midst of renovating the space on either side of the main office. That space will be transformed into extended learning space and each area is expected to be large enough to accommodate a full size class.

“In that space will be flexible seating, kind of like a Starbucks feel,” said Mercer. “This area will have projection, it will be wired for technology, there will be lots of charging stations for students. I think this area is really going to change the whole feel of that front office there, so this is really exciting. And it’s connected to the cafeteria and kids will be able to go there before and after school to hangout.”

The district is also working toward upgrading technology throughout the upcoming school year. Laptops will be introduced with the plan to eventually remove the current desktops.

“We’re really working toward becoming totally mobile so the labs are going to be converted into classrooms,” said Mercer.

For additional information regarding individual projects visit the district website at www.lakeorionschools.org/district/bond-implementation/bond-projects.