Center Line,WarrenFebruary 05, 2014
Planned building updates completed in CLPS
By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer
Center Line Public Schools Qualified Zone Academy Bond program funds made possible a new entrance way and offices at Center Line High School. The district received a total of $6 million for enhancements at buildings throughout the district.
CENTER LINE/WARREN — Although a few touch-ups here and there are needed, the majority of the planned Center Line Public Schools building updates have been completed through the Qualified Zone Academy Bond (QZAB) program.
All five district school buildings underwent renovations. Construction began in March 2013, and the majority of the work was done last summer.
In the fall of 2012, school officials announced the sale of its 2012 School Building and Site Bonds in the amount of $6 million. The district received the money through the QZAB program.
According to the Michigan Department of Education website, eligible public schools can take advantage of the program to finance the equipping and/or renovating of school facilities on an interest-free basis through the allocation of tax credits.
“The community challenged us to take on the responsibility of creating an environment that was safe and attractive. The architects put in some really beautiful touches,” Superintendent Eve Kaltz said. “It shows the district was very vested in the schools. A lot of people have been here for years and years. There’s a certain sense of ownership and pride in the buildings they attended. They still recognize them as their own.”
PARTNERS in Architectures, located in Mount Clemens, served as architectures on the projects. E. Gilbert & Sons, based in Utica, was the construction team. Most of the work was done at Center Line High School, Wolfe Middle School and Crothers Elementary School.
Some CLHS upgrades included a new secured front entrance, one-third of a new roof and a new energy-saving automated lighting system.
“When someone enters the room, the lighting comes on,” Kaltz said. “After a certain amount of time when nobody is in the room, the lights go off.”
The high school’s new entrance area included a triple security system, a new attendance office and reception area, a new conference room, and new front offices. The new reception area contains a new sound system so there is no echo. Repairs were done to the school’s de-humidification system. Another addition is a teacher workroom complete with a copy machine, cutting boards, a fax machine and electric staplers.
An additional 1,000 square feet of building was added on the front of CLHS to make the updates possible. The additions include a new outdoor school sign that stands out with “Center Line High School” in large letters. The sign lights up at night.
“It really sets the building off,” district Director of Business Services Cindy Schwark said.
The QZAB money was responsible for new bus loops at Crothers and Wolfe. There is now a specific area for parents to drop off students. Crothers received a new roof; and WMS received one-quarter of a new roof.
The WMS renovations included a new sign outside, new sensor lighting, and mechanical and electrical improvements. Renovations also were completed at the Crothers main entry.
Speakers at the high school and middle school were mounted outside the schools.
“If you need kids to move into the building, you can direct them what to do,” Kaltz said. That includes when students are waiting for school to begin, fire drills or lockdown situations.
New carpeting was installed in certain rooms at the five school buildings, district Maintenance Executive Craig Anderson said. In addition, each building received new energy-efficient entry doors.
New secured entrances were a priority at the three schools that received them.
“We wanted to always be sure of who is entering the building,” Kaltz said.
According to school officials, students have noticed the new lighting inside the WMS and CLHS hallways.
“It used to be dim and dark, it’s brighter now,” Anderson said. “It’s so much better.”
School officials said that since many of the QZAB upgrades came in under budget there is some money left over for additional projects.
“We’ve got another phase coming,” Anderson said. “We’ll meet with PARTNERS In Architecture and make a determination of how the rest of the money will be used.”
Over the course of the projects, school officials and the architects met on a weekly basis. Certain dollar amounts were allocated for each building.
District residents are not taxed on the bonds. The district will have to repay the $6 million throughout the life of the bonds, which is 15 years. Under the program, CLPS will not have to pay interest on the $6 million. The money to pay back the bond dollars will come from the district’s operating budget. School officials will have to budget the money until it is paid off.