Schools meeting SMART construction, architect firms

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN – The Dearborn Public Schools isn’t wasting any time in moving ahead with the goals it laid out in its SMART bond plans.

At the Nov. 25 Board of Education meeting, Supt. Brian Whiston said his administration and members of the board already have interviewed prospective construction managers, and architect firms will be interviewed shortly.

“We asked six construction firms to bid and five did,” Whiston said. “They came to the administration building and were interviewed and then we debriefed and discussed their offers. We’ll follow the same model for the architectural firms.”

Whiston added the administration plans to present its recommendations at the next board meeting on Dec. 9.

“We’re on track to have our decisions in the next couple of weeks,” Whiston said. “We’re very excited to move this process forward.”

Board President Pam Adams said she was all excited that the district was moving forward with its plans.

“I’m anxious for it to get started,” she said.

Whiston said the expectations are for construction to begin next summer and for it to last roughly 2.5 years.

He said the district will review in January whether to cash in the bonds now and that it could possibly sell them all if the rates are agreeable.

“If we do sell them, we’ll begin working on a timetable for construction and having that documented so the board and the community can go online and see the dates that we’re promising and the budgets for each project so everybody can see if we’re on track both timeframe and budget-wise,” Whiston said.

The $76 million SMART bond was approved during the Nov. 5 general election.

The money from the bond will be used for security, modifications, additions, renovations, technology and transportation improvements for the district.

All schools will receive upgrades to their security, modifications, technology and transportation, but a handful of buildings will be given additions and undergo renovations.

The bond is for 20 years and renewed a retiring bond. The current 5.35 mill rate for school taxes is not affected by the bond.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)