CADILLAC — At a groundbreaking ceremony in April, Cadillac Area Public Schools Superintendent Jennifer Brown said they were finally starting to move dirt on projects associated with a voter-supported $65 million bond proposal.

Since that time, dirt has definitely moved at both Lincoln and Franklin elementaries. With school officially done for the summer this past Thursday, Brown said residents and any passers-by will definitely notice some significant changes occurring.

Franklin will receive a one-story addition including 12 classrooms, student bathrooms, staff bathrooms, staff workspace and a new cafeteria and new infrastructure throughout the new addition and existing space. Lincoln Elementary renovations include the construction of two building additions, new bus loop driveway and an expanded drop-off area. There will be new infrastructure throughout the new addition and existing space.

New secure entrances are planned for all buildings, in addition to new technology and reworked parking lots for separate car and bus traffic. Other renovations include new boilers, heating, cooling and electrical systems, new classroom furnishings and classroom and playground equipment.

Brown said despite the wet weather that has plagued the state this spring, construction crews are ahead of schedule and on budget. The plan is to have both Franklin and Lincoln upgrades completed by the start of the school year in September 2020.

The majority of the bond’s generated funds, $32.5 million, will support a full renovation of the junior/senior high school, with the demolition of 14 classrooms and remodeling of classrooms, the media center and auditorium. The central office also will be relocated to the high school.

Kenwood Elementary will be converted into an elementary center. With the renovations being made to Mackinaw Trail Middle School, the building will be converted to serve sixth- through eighth-graders. The three remaining elementary buildings also will house kindergarten through fifth grade with the goal of that being implemented for the start of the 2020-2021 school year. Forest View also will receive renovations.

“We have to finalize the design for Forest View and Kenwood, but both will be done by September 2020,‘ she said. “This summer work will be done on Franklin and Lincoln and next summer we will finish up that work and also work on Forest View and Kenwood, which will begin in the spring of 2020.‘

In addition to the work at the elementary and preschool buildings, Brown said work also is scheduled to begin during spring 2020 at Mackinaw Trail Middle School. Work to be accomplished there will include adding classrooms and putting up walls, adding a gym but not in a traditional sense, partial roof replacement as well as various mechanical upgrades.

The final phase will begin in spring 2021 when upgrades begin at the high school/central office building.

The roughly $65.5 million bond proposal was passed by less than a 1,000-vote margin in May 2018. Since that time, the projects including those at Franklin and Lincoln had been in the planning and development stages. In November 2017, a similar, slightly larger bond proposal failed by 45 votes.

The proposal that was approved in 2018 cut about $3.5 million by eliminating plans for a new track and gym renovation at the high school. The bond represents a 3.3 mill increase in the first year and averages 4.3 mills over the 25-year lifetime of the bond.

“We feel very blessed to be in a community that supports our kids. Our students, staff and parents have been extremely patient in the first phase of construction,‘ Brown said. “Although we are very excited about these projects, we ask for continued patience and understanding to come with the inconvenience of construction.‘

To keep up to date with the progress of current and futures phases of the construction project log on to www.cadillacschools.org.

Cadillac News