Erin Keyser, the director of the Early Childhood Center, explains how this reception area will be used.

Erin Keyser, the director of the Early Childhood Center, explains how this reception area will be used.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Construction work in Troy School District is on schedule

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published July 25, 2019

 The reception area of the $23 million, 26-classroom Early Childhood Center is finished and is being used as a staging area while crews finish work to welcome students ages 3-5 this fall.

The reception area of the $23 million, 26-classroom Early Childhood Center is finished and is being used as a staging area while crews finish work to welcome students ages 3-5 this fall.

Photo by Deb Jacques

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TROY — Construction of the Troy School District Early Childhood Center, located near Livernois and Square Lake roads, is on track and the facility is scheduled to open to students this fall. 

Crews started work on the center, behind Troy College and Career High School, last spring. 

A divided Troy School District Board of Education voted to authorize $11 million in bonds to finance the project last March. 

Board President Karl Schmidt and Trustees Paula Fleming, Gary Hauff and Nancy Philippart supported it. 

While they said they support the Early Childhood Center, Board of Education Trustee Elizabeth Hammond and Vice President Steve Gottlieb voted against it. Hammond said she could not support an $11 million debt. 

The $23 million, 72,276-square-foot, 26-classroom facility will centralize all of the early childhood programs available through the Troy School  District for students ages 3-5 formerly held at different schools throughout the district.

Kerry Birmingham, the director of communications and strategic initiatives for the district, said last spring that there were 100 students on a waiting list for early childhood programs offered through the district. 

“This new building will allow us to accommodate all of the students currently enrolled for the fall, and we have a few spots still available for new preschool students,” Birmingham said via email. “We are so excited to be able to offer a world-class start to their education.”

The Early Childhood Center could serve more than 600 children in full-day programs and half-day programs, said Kris Griffor, the district’s assistant superintendent for elementary education.

In November 2017, Troy voters approved a 1-mill, 10-year building site and sinking fund tax by a 2-to-1 margin. 

Rick West, the Troy School District assistant superintendent of business services, said the sinking fund would raise $3.7 million in its first year. He said the funds can only be used for structural and security improvements, and for technology spending. 

Projects funded by the sinking fund, totaling about $15 million, that are underway this summer include: 

• Smith Middle School — new boilers, upgrades to doors and windows, new flooring, and a kitchen renovation.

• International Academy - East — classroom renovations and an office addition.

• Troy High School — an expansion of the auto shop and a renovation to the wood shop.

• Wattles Elementary School — new flooring in the cafeteria. 

• Martell and Costello elementary schools — new paved surfaces in the play areas.

• Hamilton Elementary School — a new loop for the drop-off area.

• Hill, Morse and Leonard elementary schools, and Athens High School — partial roof replacements. 

In addition, the common areas at Smith Middle School and Barnard, Costello, Hill and Martell elementary schools will be painted this summer. The Troy School District Board of Education set aside $500,000 in the operational budget last spring so that all of the buildings in the Troy School District can be painted in the coming years. 

“We’re working with the school principals to identify the highest needs,” West said. 

“The most visible projects are the floor replacements,” West said. He noted that the work on the kitchen at Smith Middle School is a “major upgrade,” and the new drop-off loop at Hamilton Elementary School will alleviate a lot of stress and traffic congestion on Northfield Parkway. 

West noted that the paving projects have had some delays due to the heavy rains, but the majority of the projects are on schedule. 

Call Staff Writer Terry Oparka at (586) 498-1054. 

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