2014-05-04 / Viewpoints

Chalk Talk

By Mike McGough
Chesaning Union High School

On May 6, 2014 voters in the Chesaning Union School District will go to the polls in a special school election to vote on two bond proposals offered by the Chesaning Union Schools Board of Education. The proposals are the result of a nearly year-long study of district facilities. School officials have worked closely with construction management, an architectural firm, and community stakeholders to assess district building and site needs and to design the funding mechanism that would address them. Through the study it was determined that much of our school infrastructure is in need of repair and renovation. Chesaning High School (completed in 1959), Big Rock Elementary (completed in 1968), and Chesaning Middle School (completed in 1975) have been well maintained over the years, but as they have aged have become in need of repairs and upgrades that would make them safer, more energy efficient, and better able to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. Our athletic fields have also been determined to be in great need of repair and upgrade, and the condition of our high school track is such that we are no longer able to host track meets. In addition, unavailability of gym space has resulted in shortened practice times and late nights for our student athletes in grades 5-12. Chesaning is one of the few schools in our conference without the use of three full-size gyms.

There are two Bond Proposals on the ballot. Proposal 1 involves facility and site improvements to Big Rock Elementary, Chesaning Middle School, Chesaning High School, Chesaning High School Athletic Fields, and the District’s Bus Garage. Proposal 2 is for the construction of an Auxiliary Gym at the High School. More specific proposed improvements are as follows and include:

Proposal 1

Big Rock Elementary (original portion of building) - Exterior remodeling & storage building roof replacement; interior remodeling and mechanical/electrical work; upgrades to parking areas and fencing of playground area; secure front entrance; heating system boiler and unit ventilator replacement; new lighting; new ceiling panels; replacement of asbestos tile with vinyl; restroom repair and renovations; student desks and teacher work stations; and security equipment.

Middle School - Exterior remodeling and roof replacement; interior remodeling and mechanical/ electrical work; upgrades to parking areas and fencing; heating and air conditioning system replacement; replacement of semi-portable interior walls with permanent walls; classroom window replacement; new lighting; new ceiling panels; new flooring; exterior fascia panel replacement; locker replacement; exterior canopy at office entrance; renovation of science labs; band room and storage area renovation; security equipment; PA and time clock system; and student desks and teacher work stations.

High School - Exterior remodeling and roof replacement; interior remodeling and mechanical/ electrical work; upgrades to parking areas and fencing; sidewalk replacement; site signage; window replacement; new lighting; new ceiling panels; replacement of asbestos tile with vinyl; exterior canopy at main office entrance; renovation of science labs; band room and storage area renovation; security equipment; PA and time clock system; student desks and teacher work stations; auto shop/welding lab renovation; boiler replacement; and cafeteria furniture.

High School Athletic Fields - Replacement of athletic field drainage systems; addition of water retention pond; resurfacing of stadium field to be used for soccer and football; replacement of fencing; repair/replacement of dugouts; replacement of track; replacement of scoreboards; stadium lighting replacement; installation of home bleachers on south sideline (north sideline bleachers remain and become visitors’ side); addition/replacement of sidewalks; replacement of storage barn; addition of south sideline concession stand, restrooms, and ticket booth; replacement of existing six tennis courts with eight courts with proper base; improve baseball and softball grass and infield surfaces.

Bus Garage - Replacement of windows; roof replacement; fire alarm system; overhead and entry doors; parking lot repavement; replacement of bus heater rail; new interior and exterior lighting; floor drains; oil separator pit; and replacement of heating system.

Proposal 2

Auxiliary Gym - An auxiliary gym is proposed for Chesaning High School. The gym would have a full-size court, bleachers, locker rooms, and a walking track available for both school and community use.

Project Funding: The district currently levies 3.5 mills for a sinking fund and 1.5 mills for a bus/technology bond for a total of 5 mills. If approved, Proposal 1 projects would be funded by replacing the current 5 mills with 5 mills consisting of a new bond and the remaining bus/tech bond. There would be no tax increase for Proposal 1*. If both Proposals 1 & 2 are approved, there would be an increase of approximately .62 mills which, for example, equates to an annual tax increase of less than $24 for a home with a cash value of $75,000*. The bonds would be issued for a term not to exceed 29 years.

Please contact your local township clerk for further information regarding voting locations and times. You may visit chesaningschools.net under “Resources” for more information regarding the bond proposals.

*Based on the estimated millage rate. Actual millage rates will be determined by actual taxable value growth and bond sale results.

Dear Editor,

As a parent of students in Chesaning schools and as a Chesaning business owner I strongly urge everyone to vote yes on May 6 for both school bond proposals. The Proposal #1 Bond received more coverage because it updates older buildings that need new roofs, new heating and cooling systems, and new safety/security features. It also provides much needed updates to our athletic facilities. Considering all that bond proposal 1 provides (without raising our taxes) people might wonder why the second bond proposal, which builds an auxiliary gym, is needed.

As a parent I know the auxiliary gym is needed because of the demands of far more sports than when the high school was built. Women’s sports have particularly expanded, meaning that my own daughter is one of the students competing for practice times. Limited gym space means that practices can last late at night when students should be studying, spending time with family, or sleeping.

The possibility of an indoor track is also appealing for those of us who found it hard to get out to walk or run this icy, cold winter. Though not the main purpose of the gym, it is certainly a desirable bonus.

As a business owner I also know that the auxiliary gym is needed, even though it will add an additional $150 to $200 cost to my business (far more than the $23 the owner of a $75,000 house would pay). This is well worth the cost if for no other reason than the opportunity to host sports tournaments our current facilities don’t allow for. This brings people into town, shopping in our gas stations, restaurants and other stores. The updated facilities also make Chesaning more attractive to those considering moving here, which brings even more business into the Chesaning area.

For all of these reasons, and more others have addressed, I once again strongly encourage everyone to vote yes on May 6 for both proposal 1 and proposal 2.

Joe Greenfelder

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