New Year, New Schools: LOCS school board discusses bond sequencing, releases

By Megan Kelley

Review Writer

With the start of a new year comes the first of many new projects for Lake Orion Community Schools.

Preparations for bond work are in full swing with GMB Architects + Engineering, the district’s design firm, working to form a sequencing plan that, after 2027, will leave all district buildings equipped for generations to come.

Prior to the Dec. 19 board meeting, GMB architect Tom VanDeGriend met with staff for several half-day workshops to discuss the needs of the district before forming the plan that was presented to the board.

In order for the bond projects to flow smoothly, the district has outlined six guiding principles for the project:

1. Compliance with approved Treasury application – audit and Michigan Department of Treasury, project integrity and legal compliance.

2. Immediate need – safety and security, educational programming and wired and wireless network infrastructure upgrades.

3. Financial planning – contractors/vendor availability, economies of scale and bid timing.

4. Equity by level – secure entrances, educational impact and furnishings.

5. Logical sequencing within and between projects –Blanche Sims to NOTA, CERC to Early Childhood Center and useful life (technology, facilities, etc.)

6. Professional experience/expertise – architect, construction manager and technology designer.

The architects at GMB used these principles to help outline the project sequencing.

“There’s a lot of different lenses that get put over this stuff. It ends up being a little bit like fantasy football draft night. You get this big board and we had a lot of discussion about different lenses and put stuff back and forth and changed it,” VanDeGriend said.

In addition to the guiding principles, the bond will have some coordination with the district’s Sinking Fund and will have to fit in with the staff workload. All in all, there are around 10 or 11 different “lenses” that work along with the guiding principles and make sequencing so crucial and complex.

“There’s some useful-life things in certain buildings, when they really needed work quickly, some of the things have to do with safety in terms of…the highest priority for certain safety needs, there were some curriculum and program needs at certain buildings,” said VanDenGriend. “The economy is a scale when we do this with contractors as well, it’s very important, that we don’t hit the market or flood the market for certain components so that they can only bid on part of it. We want them to be attractive for nine years; this is a nine-year plan.”

The district’s expected building plans are (projected start/finish dates and series):

NOTA (2019-2020, series 1)

Early Childhood (2019-2021, series 1)

Webber (2019-2021, series 1)

Carpenter (2019, 2021, series 1)

Orion Oaks (2019-2021, series 1)

LOHS furnishings (2020-2022, series 1)

Paint Creek secure (2020-2021, series 1)

Oakview furnishings (2020-2021, series 1)

Stadium Drive (2020-2022, series 1-2)

Scripps (2021-2022, series 1-2)

Blanche Sims (2021-2023, series 1-2)

Waldon (2021-2024, series 1-2)

Oakview renovation (2022-2024, series 2)

Transportation (2023-2024, series 2)

Pine Tree (2022-2023, series 2-3)

LOHS renovation (2024-2025, series 2-3)

Paint Creek second renovation (2024-2025, series 3)

CERC (2025-2026, series 3)

Administration (2026-2027, series 3)

Moose Tree (2026-2027, series 3).

Online: www.lakeorionschools.org.