Pentwater school to seek bond funds in November.

April 15, 2021

Pentwater school to seek bond funds in November.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

PENWATER — Pentwater Public School has not asked its voters for a tax increase to fund school improvements since 2003, and school officials have determined that the time has come to make some much-needed enhancements.

School leaders presently are looking at four different project scenarios which include a “bare bones” project that would renovate the existing over 60-year-old building for $6 to $10 million to a more extensive project that includes building a new gym and a new auditorium; renovating the existing gym; and adding a new running track, and soccer field at a total project cost of approximately $24 million.

The school district has been actively seeking community input through online forums and surveys, said Superintendent/Principal Dr. Scott Karaptian. The bond issue will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot.

“We recently put together a steering committee made up of community members, school employees, board members, administration and parents,” said Karaptian.

“We don’t have everything solidified yet, but if we do everything we want to do, it is right in the area of $24 million.”

Building improvements most recently made 18 years ago are now “nearing their end of life cycle.”

Rockford Construction and TMP Architects have performed a facility assessment. “They went over it with a fine-toothed comb to see what needs to be done to bring us up to code, and we’re looking at roofs, boilers, windows, doors, added security, ADA compliance, casements, flooring, electrical, plumbing, etc. That alone came to approximately $7 million.

“We looked at getting a gymnasium, because ours is circa 1959 and really small. You go up for a lay-up, and you’re hitting the wall.”

Pentwater also needs an auditorium, the school leader said. “If we had an auditorium it could be used for school and community events.” A 350-400 seat facility would serve as a venue for musical and drama events. “We need a nice place for our band to perform.”

The gym would offer a fitness center for community members with an indoor walking area and pickle ball courts.

Both the gym and the auditorium would be separate buildings on campus.

The Falcon track teams currently have a dirt surface to run on. “We have a track team, but we’ve never had a track to practice on. And we can’t host anything because we have nowhere to host,” said Karaptian.

“Our kids deserve a good athletic facility, good performing arts opportunities and technology opportunities.”

K-12 enrollment at Pentwater is about 250 students, said the superintendent.

Because of Pentwater’s tax base, it is an out-of-formula district that does not receive a state per-pupil funding. With the small enrollment, the teacher-to-student ratio is low, allowing students more one-on-one learning opportunities compared to larger schools. “A lot of people say Pentwater is a public school with a private school feel.”

“We see kids in preschool to 12th grade every day in the same building, so the relationships we can build with the kids and families is so key in helping us be educationally successful,” he said. “Nobody slips between the cracks.”

Pentwater, which levies 1.2 mills, currently has the lowest millage rate among area districts. “Our district levies the least amount of taxes of any other school district in the area.”

“It’s a pretty exciting opportunity. It’s great for the community and the kids. It’s time to get our facilities current and up-to-date. I think the biggest thing is: why would we not want the same opportunities for our kids as the other districts around us? We might be small, but we still deserve the same opportunities as everybody else. This will benefit the students and the community.”

A third online community forum will likely be scheduled for Tuesday, April 27, at 6 p.m. The district will continue to seek community input to make sure we are representing residents’ opinions and views. We are not just looking at the school’s needs, but also the desires of the community and how Pentwater Public Schools can serve the broader community in a collaborative and cost-effective way” said Dr. Karaptian. For further bond information, check Pentwater’s website at www.pentwaterschools.net.

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