School board asks firms to assess facilities

June 17, 2014

HHSBy Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

HART — The Hart Public Schools Board of Education moved one step closer to building renovations last night when it requested that Owen-Ames-Kimball Co. of Grand Rapids and Wolgast Corporation of Saginaw visit the district’s campus to perform facilities assessments.

One of the two firms will ultimately be chosen by the board to serve as the construction manager for future building projects. The chosen firm will not be paid for its services unless the bond passes, Platt said.

“The board has requested that both firms come to Hart and do a facilities assessment of our district,” Hart Public Schools Superintendent Mark Platt said today. “They are requesting this free of charge regardless of which firm we select.  I notified both firms today and am waiting to hear from them.”

An aging high school and an overcrowding elementary school are two issues that need to be addressed in a bond proposal next May. School officials want the community’s input, and community groups are being formed to gain feedback. Renovating the 60-year-old high school is a top priority, Platt said. Adding more classrooms to accommodate the growing enrollment at Spitler Elementary is also a major concern.

There are several other issues that need to be addressed, including athletic needs. However, Platt envisions putting athletic improvements on a separate ballot.

Plumbing and heating/cooling issues are major needs at the high school, the district leader said. New windows are another key need. The gym, weight room and cafeteria were recently upgraded with sinking fund dollars, but the school is still in need of a major facelift.

Spitler elementary needs four classrooms. Title I instruction is currently taking place in the hallway, and there will be no library next year due to overcrowding. Spitler underwent major renovations and additions a few years ago under a different administration, but the project did not accommodate the elementary school’s growing population.

The need for bond money is critical to making improvements. “If we use the general fund, then we will have to cut programs,” Platt said.

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