By Travis Smola
The Schoolcraft school board approved the hiring of Kalamazoo architectural firm C2AE and Christman Construction to conduct a facilities assessment of the district’s grounds and buildings at a cost of $25,000.
“Looking at the proposal, what stood apart from others was this collaborative process,” Superintendent Rusty Sitt said. “They feel as if we need to involve the community right away.”
Community involvement will mean establishing a facilities assessment committee with community members, school staff, district administration and school board members. They also plan to have informative meetings for the public to learn more about the assessment and to give feedback. The first is scheduled November 30.
Stitt said the district is not currently planning a bond or project, but is gathering information at this point. The assessment itself will take 4-5 days and will happen in December. A report will be presented to the committee and community in January 2018.
Recommendations for repairs or improvements from the report won’t be presented to the school board until April 2018. Even though Stitt said nothing is planned at this moment, C2AE and Christman’s plan includes finding potential funding sources and potential bond planning, something that was noted by the trustees.
“I appreciated that it was very comprehensive,” Trustee Jill Hunt said.
Secretary Jennifer Gottschalk also said she appreciated how C2AE and Christman’s proposal walked them through every step of the process. “It’s a brand-new, fresh set of eyes on our buildings,” Gottschalk said. “We need a fresh perspective.”
The board also highlighted parts of the Michigan Association of School Board’s annual leadership conference. President Darby Fetzer gave a presentation on leadership at the conference. She said she took at least 10 pages of notes on other presentations she attended on topics from technology to fostering critical thinking skills in students.
Stitt and trustee Michael Rochholz were also at the conference where they gave a presentation on school growth and development in a rural district like Schoolcraft.
In the meeting’s closing comments, Rochholz brought up his concerns with Senate Bills 584-586, which were recently approved by the Senate and will move on the House. If approved, people with additional firearms training and a concealed carry permit could carry a concealed firearm into Michigan schools.
He urged everyone to contact State Sen. Margaret O’Brien, who voted in favor of the bills, to express their concerns.