ALMONT– The Almont school board held a town hall type meeting in the high school auditorium on December 19th to discuss the possible intentions with the 2024 school bond, if passed by voters.
At the onset of the presentation, interim superintendent Kimberly VonHiltmayer began by reminding the audience, the common ground is to prioritize the care of the students in the community.
She then continued with an in-depth description of the district’s many needs and how to improve the system and structure of the Almont Community Schools.
The presentation informed the community it has been decades since improvements for the schools have been performed. The information in the presentation addressed the issue of the loss of classrooms since selling the elementary school in 2016.
Also discussed, was the fact the high school media center was in desperate need of remodeling along with the need for new furniture and desks.
On the district’s website, it says the last bond issue in front of Almont taxpayers was in 2002, which was used to construct a new middle school. Orchard Primary School is 24 years old and Almont Middle School is 18 years old; The district said they have not invested significantly in the schools in 35 years.
If the bond passes the district plans on using the money in four categories; safety and security; updating facilities; supporting programs; and updating infrastructures at all schools and play areas according to the presentation on the schools’ website.
In VonHiltmayer’s presentation she voiced concerns about the integrity of the buildings. She states, 57% of the districts’ roofing needs repair. Mechanical equipment is over 25 years old and in need of updating. Drainage needs improving under the concrete, which leads to over 500,000 square feet of concrete that will have to be replaced. Structural damage needs to be looked at and energy-saving measures need to be addressed.
The plans to change lighting and upgrade it to efficient energy may result in an extra 60% savings. This will bring about an estimated $30,000 that could go back into the general fund according to school officials.
The lack of safety and security within the schools is another aspect this bond will likely tackle as the plan in the presentation is to implement upgrades to select interior and exterior glass, upgrades to select doors and hardware, additional emergency generators, expanding video surveillance, expanding access control, and replacing the fire alarm system. The district also has plans to improve the music program with acoustical upgrades.
The track has been unfit to hold a home track meet since 2016, and that’s also on the school boards radar to change.
Another structure was mentioned by the board, which is being referred to as a multipurpose building/fieldhouse. This structure is said to house extracurriculars such as: weightlifting, athletics, robotics, music and STEM.
The structure is projected to be 80,000 square feet and house state-of-the-art equipment. This multipurpose building will create an opportunity for ACS to generate revenue.
The meeting had several supporters for the bond who wanted their kids to have better and to be able to learn in a sound environment that wasn’t in disrepair. They reminded each other this wasn’t about them, but rather about the children.
The full PowerPoint presentation on the bond can be found on the Almont Community Schools’ website. It is a comprehensive presentation that shows pictures of the current state of things needing attention, as well as what projected new items will be purchased.
Almont residents will vote on the school bond this coming February 27th, 2024.
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