By Sue Moore
The Schoolcraft Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) held six sessions to evaluate the condition of the existing facilities and decide if a bond was needed and what projects the bond should include. Before getting to work as a committee, members needed to learn what the community had to say, said Bobbie VanZile, co-chair of the CAC, along with Jason Walther.
Once they gathered community input, the 36-member committee began evaluating the possibilities.
One big concern was how to handle the closing of the early elementary building built in 1945. Due to its size limitations and staffing efficiencies it’s not a good investment they felt. “We propose to close the building but look for other suitable uses and not to demolish it,” VanZile said.
The Krum Center also posed a dilemma, she said. It needed major work, probably about a half million dollars to bring it up to speed because it is in very poor condition.
David Krum shared that the family understands the situation with the Ken Krum Center and will support the decision made. “The CAC did not support investing into the center at this time. We did feel it was important to honor the family. “The solution is to repurpose the middle school and have it named the new Ken Krum Center,” she indicated.
When it came down to the voting on which proposal should be presented to the public, the school board members and administrators on the committee recused themselves, she said.
Then the CAC took the proposal to two community forums in February.
Once the feedback from those meetings was evaluated, the school board decided to change the layout for the middle school to reflect concerns about mingling fifth through eighth grade students with high school students.
The board also worked to reduce the cost by removing the purchase of buses and maintenance vehicles from the proposal, along with the technology piece at the high school. That was possible because of a grant that had been announced after the CAC process began. That grant will upgrade much of the technology in that building, VanZile said.
“When we got done with all of these considerations, it was refreshing to see that the decisions were being arrived at analytically and with a business minded approach,” she said. “Now our job is to reach out to the community by talking to church groups, home owners, and the general public. We will be doing that for the next three months.”
The proposal will result in cost savings and efficiencies, she said.
“It’s either a band aid where you dump money into an old building or move forward into the future,” she said.