School bond improvements continuing

BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer

As part of the $76 million bond that was passed in 2016, more school district improvements will be coming next summer, as well as technology upgrades during this current school year.
The physical improvements include a new secure entry at the Early Childhood Center with new cross corridor doors, new card readers and electronic door hardware, and a new door to the playground from the office, as well as learning commons renovations, bathroom renovations, LED lighting replacements, new lockers, 1-2 new card readers, classroom power outlets and cosmetic touch-ups at Clarkston Elementary and similar upgrades at Pine Knob Elementary, where portions of that school’s roof will be replaced.
Clarkston High School will have the most improvements, with the Performing Arts Center, art rooms, band and orchestra rooms, learning commons, nutrition area, and gym (adding air conditioning) all getting upgrades. All classroom carpeting will also be replaced. Parts of the high school’s roof will also be replaced, and the parking and student drop-off area will be tweaked to allow a safer flow of traffic.
Mitch Duyser, an architect with GMB Architecture and Engineering, the company working with the school district, spoke at the Dec. 9 Board of Education meeting and detailed all the upcoming physical changes, along with Wes Goodman, the school district’s director of buildings and grounds.
Goodman said the bids for the renovation projects were due Dec. 10. The total cost of the projects will be known once bids have been finalized and approved by the Board of Education.
“We’re excited for that,” said Goodman. “We’ll work between now and the holidays to vet out all the bidders that we’ll bring back to the Jan. 13 (board of education) meeting for recommendation.
“This work, because of some of the additions, will probably start as soon as the frost is out of the ground in late March, early April. We’ll have everything ready for when school starts (for 2020-21 school year).”
“This will be our fourth summer, but it almost feels like we just started this,” added School Board President Kelli Horst.
On the technology side, Angela Harrison, the district’s director of technology, is excited for what is to come as it pertains to the electronic side of the upgrades. She also presented at the Dec. 9 meeting.
“It’s already been four years, even for technology,” Harrison said. “We are starting to look at the refresh, things we need to do. We were hoping to have about $2 million left at the end of this bond for refreshing of other technologies, and right now, we’re on that target for having $2 million left.”
In total, $9,382,100 was set aside for the technology upgrades and as of mid-December, $6,850,870 was committed or spent, leaving $2,531,230 leftover, the monies Harrison mentioned.
Among the upcoming technological changes coming next summer are a network core and firewall and expanded wireless access, in addition to an enhanced emergency notification phone system, secondary music upgrades to the middle school, junior high school, high school and ECC classroom system infrastructure happening currently. Upgrades to the learning commons technology is ongoing.
District-wide, classroom teacher workstations will be getting upgraded this summer, while special education devices will be finishing in the spring and food service point of sale upgrades will be complete over the summer.