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$6M in Improvements Head to Kalamazoo, Mich., Schools

The latest improvements to Kalamazoo Public Schools will include 13 new school buses, additional secure vestibules at building entrances and improvements to schools’ athletic facilities.

by Kayla Miller, / February 14, 2020
Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo, Michigan on Tuesday, November 12, 2019. TNS

(TNS) — The money approved by taxpayers in 2018 will fund updates and improvements at multiple Kalamazoo schools.

Kalamazoo Public Schools is planning about $6 million for improvements with funds from the district’s largest-ever bond approved by voters in 2018. The Board of Education approved the purchases at a meeting Thursday, Feb. 13.

The latest improvements made possible by the $96.7 million bond passed by voters in November 2018 will include 13 new school buses, additional secure vestibules at building entrances and improvements to schools’ athletic facilities.

The district previously installed eight secure vestibules and new security cameras and remodeled classrooms at multiple school buildings, Karen Jackson, executive supervisor of facilities management said at an October board meeting.

The 2018 bond issue was the largest, by dollar amount, in the school district’s history and about 70% of voters supported the proposal.

Board President Patti Sholler-Barber thanked the citizens of Kalamazoo for approving the bond.

“So much of our money is going to security,” Sholler-Barber said. “It’s so important. We care very much about the safety of our children.”

According to the purchase agreements approved by the board Thursday, the district will purchase 12 new school buses and one special needs lift bus for $1,222,906.

“Safety in school bus operations requires regular replacement of vehicles,” the recommendation said. “We will be replacing buses that have passed their useful life in miles and years.”

At Loy Norrix High School, the bond money will fund $3,665,569 for remodeling projects and site improvements. The district plans to replace all parking lots, relocate the softball field and replace the track and tennis courts. Projects also include replacing classroom flooring and improvements to the pool spectator seating area.

Another purchase recommendation approved by the board includes new corridor lockers at the Alternative Learning Program and The Woodward School for Technology and Research for $162,906.

At Phoenix High School, the bond will fund the reinstallation of existing security cameras and new cameras at the remodeled high school. This project is expected to cost $31,486.92.

The board previously approved funds to remodel the entire inside of Phoenix, and build an addition to add four new classrooms, a new gymnasium and additional office space. Students were temporarily moved to South Westnedge School, or the Kalamazoo Innovative Learning Program, for the 2019-20 school year.

The district plans to make improvements to both the exterior and interior of Arcadia Elementary School including installation of a secure vestibule at the main entry, remodel of student restrooms near the gym and replacement of the public address system and clock system.

Exterior projects at Arcadia include replacing the asphalt basketball and tennis courts, replacing the exterior building sign, adding concrete sidewalks at the bus loop and installing concrete for an accessible route to the playground areas. These projects are estimated to cost $492,862.

The final purchase recommendation approved by the board includes a secure vestibule and remodel at Greenwood Elementary School. The remodeling projects include replacing the basketball court asphalt and fencing, replacing the boilers and installing a new sidewalk with walkway lighting from the parking lot to the front entrance near the office. The board approved $407,272 for these projects.

The approved projects are planned for this summer, Interim Superintendent Gary Start said.

©2020, Walker, Mich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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