By Travis Smola
Results of a 2017 study of the Schoolcraft school district’s facilities were presented to the public at two meetings in April by a committee including the school board, a facilities advisory committee, Brian Crissman of Christman Construction and two architects from architecture and engineering firm C2AE.
One thing they sought to make clear: There is no project. Right now, they are just presenting their findings to the community. “We are not going to be ready for a project next year,” Secretary Jennifer Gottschalk said. “We’ve got to come up with a process. This is going to be painstakingly slow.”
Trustee Jill VanDyken-Hunt said one of the options is to do nothing at all.
C2AE and Christman worked together with architects, mechanical and electrical engineers to walk through all the existing facilities at Schoolcraft schools. They looked at everything, including interior and exteriors, mechanical and electrical systems. They also looked at food services and education technology and adequacy.
The group gave each facility a score on a scale of 0-100 with higher being better. The high school fared the best, scoring 83 in part because it was built just 19 years ago. The older elementary building scored 61 and the middle school got a 53.
“While they are well-maintained, we are talking decades old,” Steve Jurczuk, project manager and architect at C2AE said.
Jurczuk said things like mechanical systems are either at or beyond their end of life spans. In particular, the boilers at the middle school are of great concern. “Those are getting near end of life,” Jurczuk said. “We’re well beyond where we should be.”
Also a big concern is security. In all three buildings, once someone is through the main entrance, the person can go anywhere without interacting with office staff. One possible solution: Creation of a security vestibule at the middle school where visitors would have to interact with office staff before being able to roam the building.
For the elementary and middle school, C2AE took photos during school dismissal times that show safety issues of children having to enter or cross into an active street to get to their parent’s vehicles.
C2AE also said the middle school cafeteria creates scheduling issues. Because of the size of the room, there is only room for approximately 100 students at a time to eat lunch. This results in four different lunches, which cuts into class time. It also means lunch staff must work longer hours.
Other issues with the elementary and middle school include a flooding problem in the back parking lot, old windows that are not energy-efficient, storage issues in many classrooms and doors to classrooms that are not fire rated.
C2AE Buildings Group Leader and architect Bob McGraw said the stadium, track and tennis courts all have problems that need to be addressed, especially the courts. “The tennis courts are in very poor condition and those need to be reconstructed,” McGraw said.
The track surface has divots in many places in the surface. McGraw said the standard now is an eight-lane track, while Schoolcraft’s is only six. The extra lanes allow more events to be run quicker and in shorter time.
The press box also has ADA issues and the wood bleachers are in rough shape. There are also areas where the concrete is deteriorating.
For now, the groups will work to collect feedback from the community on how to proceed before their May board meeting where the results will be discussed further.