On May 8th, residents in the Portland School District were asked to decide the fate of a bond extension proposal. The Portland Beacon ran a piece back on March 10th (you can read that HERE) that detailed what would be funded if the bond passed, but we really have not covered much about the proposal since.
According to the Ionia County Clerk’s web page, the May 8th PPS proposal passed with 1333 yes votes to 413 no votes.
To cut right to the chase, we reached out to PPS Superintendent Will Heath to more information about the proposal, and what residents can expect to see now.
When asked what residents could expect to see first, and when should they expect to see it, Heath said, “The next step now that the bond has passed is to sell our bonds. This will allow the district to have access to the money for all of the projects that will be completed. The district will work with Umbaugh & Associates, Hilltop Securities, and Huntington Bank to sell the first series ($11,825,000) of bonds. The sale date will be dependent on market conditions as well as the draw schedule that is established by our construction manager and architect/engineering firm. The sale of the first series needs to be complete prior to December 1, 2018.”
Heath added, “We will unfortunately not see changes this summer or next school year because of the sale of these bonds as well as the time needed to complete the bond schedule and plans. While money will be available during next school year it is too disruptive to the educational environment to start construction when school is in session. The district will be ready to complete the majority of the first series projects during the summer of 2019. The first thing on our list to complete will be safety upgrades including secure entryways and technology upgrades. It will be quiet this summer but there will a lot of construction beginning a year from now.”
When asked if there was anything else he would like to share with readers about the bond renewal/extension, Heath said, “I am very appreciative of the support that the community has extended to us with this bond extension. We will be working hard over this next year to secure the funds and develop the plans to ensure that we have a successful first series of this bond. The list of what will be completed in each of the three series can be found on our website at https://sites.google.com/portlandk12.org/2018-bond/home . We will continue to use this website throughout the bond process. Keep checking in for updates and pictures as we start work.”
Heath provided the following list of what will occur in the first series of the bond:
- Secure Entry to all school buildings, parking lots, traffic flow changes, sidewalks, playgrounds, replacement of select doors and windows
- Middle School remodeling including office, bathrooms, cafeteria, media center, science classrooms
- High School remodeling including the media center, art room, music room, weight room, gym bleachers, and heating/cooling control upgrade.
- Complete technology infrastructure upgrade, over 1600 new student devices, new intercom systems, audio systems in elementary gyms and High School cafeteria, increased security camera coverage, door access controls, new classroom technology.
- Athletic upgrades including updating the football practice field, irrigating the band practice field, replacing dirt at baseball and softball fields, and at the football field we will see a new entry way, concession and restroom building at the South end of the field, additional bleachers, remodel of existing bathrooms and a new set of bathrooms next to current bathrooms.