$39 million sought for school improvements

By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – School officials may be asking for $39 million to fund various needs in the nine area buildings and playgrounds, but they say it won’t come at a cost to taxpayers.

Wyandotte Public Schools Supt. Catherine Cost said the quest was decided at a Sept. 29 special meeting, when school board members agreed to send the application to the Michigan Treasurer for approval to seek the bond. The treasurer will have until Nov. 11 to approve or deny. If approved, it would go to the voters on Feb. 24.

Yet, school officials say taxpayers won’t be hard hit by the tax because, if approved, the new bond will exchange with an old debt coming off the books.

Cost said the funds will cover costs for a variety of things.

“It is largely for the area of safety and security, technology, and repairing and replacing items that have outlived their life expectancy,” Cost said.

The most noticeable improvement would be the artificial turf and bleachers at Roosevelt High School, Cost said.

“Some people will say, ‘We just did that,’” Cost said, noting it was done during the last bond 12 years ago.

“The turf has a life expectancy of 10 years,” she said, adding that the seams are showing on the current turf. “Like carpet, it wears out.”

The field is used for high school marching bands and football. Community groups also use the field for athletics and it is weathered.

Another item slated for improvement is technology. Cost said the past bond also covered advancements in technology, but that was a time when not everyone was carrying a Smart Phone.

“We need to improve the infrastructure to handle 1,500 devices,” Cost said.

The funding also will help upgrade leaking boilers and windows with broken seals.

It also will help with security advancements.

Currently visitors have to be buzzed in, Cost said. From that point they have access to the building.

“There is no for sure way to tell where they are going once they come in,” Cost said.

As a result, the board would like to put cameras in the classrooms and behind the schools to improve security.

“We’re optimistic this will serve our students for a long time down the road,” Cost said.

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)