By Megan Kelley
Amidst heavy discussion on how to better communicate bond updates to the community, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Heidi Mercer took the opportunity to clarify to the board that bond progress is mostly still in the beginning stages.
“These projects that we have going right now, these meetings, there are time and time again where the plan continues to come back and these committees are working on that…the committee is just still working on the building plan. There’s not much more that can be said regarding that,” said Mercer. “This is bigger than the sinking fund. This is way bigger and it’s going to take much longer.”
Most recently, bond committees last met on June 19.
Webber Elementary, Orion Oaks Elementary, Carpenter Elementary and the Early Childhood Center committees are continuing to discuss building plans, said Mercer.
“We are getting close to having what is more of a final layout of their building,” Mercer said. “We will be looking, I would think, to wrap those up, I would say, sometime (in) August/September is my guess, if things continue to go the way they are.”
Mercer reiterated for the board that Webber is looking to add a wing, Orion Oaks will add a classroom and Carpenter will add two classrooms, as well as additional office space. In addition to these updates, all elementary schools in the district are slated to receive a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) room as well as media center revisions.
“All of these now are finally — they started off as little bubbles on a page, we’re now actually moving to a floor plan where we can actually see the spaces, how large the spaces are going to be and so we’re really making a lot of progress in each of those areas,” Mercer said. “I do want to point out, you will not see any ground being broken on any of these projects until next spring. Again, the design phase is a big part of this timeline and we really still are in that phase.”
STEM and Media committees have created a “playbook” for what they are looking at to be implemented throughout each elementary school, said Mercer.
“The STEM group is calling for, for instance, a particular area within the building that is meant to have movable furniture. There are certain, I will call them ‘requirements’ that (are) coming out of that committee that they really want to see within the STEM design in each of the elementaries. And that is happening the same with the media center,” Mercer said. “Those two groups are really ahead of schedule and so they are to the point right now where they have designed their playbook, and we’re to the point where now we have to see how that playbook goes into Webber, Orion Oaks and Carptenter and then when that plan comes together, it will go back to the STEM and Media group to just say, ‘Is this really what you intended this to look like? Are we hitting it with the playbook?’ before their plans are finalized.”
According to Mercer, a lot has happened recently regarding the technology aspect of the bond. This includes, pilot testing, staff surveys and administrative technology team meetings.
Bond work will continue throughout the summer with all middle school gyms and cafeterias receiving new audio visual equipment and fiber being added to the athletic fields.
The district is looking to get rid of all their large classroom televisions this summer, which has proven to be a difficult task in the past month due to how they must be disposed of.
“If anybody is interested or would like one — yours free,” said Mercer. “Students going to college? Need TV’s for dorms? We got them.”
Additionally, laptop carts will be distributed throughout the district in science classrooms, special education classrooms, the high school media center, middle school media productions classrooms, each third grade classroom in the district, learning options and other rooms.
Lastly, the bid award for creating extended learning space at LOHS was awarded to Custer Office Environments for the amount of $39,979 with a request to hold just under $4,000 in contingency.
As previously discussed, LOHS will repurpose their front locker pod areas to the left and right of the main office into extended learning spaces.
LOCS directs those who would like updates on bond projects to visit their website at www.lakeorionschools.org.