Attention Readers: We're Back
C&G Newspapers is pleased to have resumed publication. For the time being, our papers will publish on a biweekly basis as we work toward our return to weekly papers. In between issues, and anytime, continue to find local news on our website and look for us on Facebook and Twitter.

RCS begins second year of bond projects

Construction to kick off at ACE, Adams, Baldwin, Hamlin, West for 2017-18

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published August 29, 2017


ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The beginning of the 2017-18 school year means a fresh start for students at the newly renovated Hugger and Musson elementary schools, along with an updated Rochester High School — courtesy of the district’s five-year, $185 million bond issue.

“It’s like renovating a house, on steroids,” Rochester Community Schools Superintendent Robert Shaner said of the five-year bond projects.


Summer construction and the completion of phase one
Over the summer, approximately 1,600 people completed around $35 million of work at what Shaner referred to as “The Summer Six” — Baldwin, Hamlin, Hugger and Musson elementary schools; West Middle School; and Rochester High School.

Crews were slated to wrap up work on the first year of bond projects — which includes work at Hugger, Musson and RHS — before the start of the 2017-18 school year.

Rochester High School, home to the largest of the bond projects, cost the district approximately $17 million in construction. Improvements included securing the main entrance, renovating the media center, replacing skylights and the roof, upgrading doors, resurfacing parking areas, expanding the performing arts lobby, updating technology, and expanding the band and choir room. The stadium got a refresh and now includes an eight-lane track with seating for 1,800 home guests and 750 visitors, along with enhanced accommodations for people with special needs.

New additions and renovations at Hugger and Musson cost the district approximately $7.6 million each. The buildings each received secure entrances, interior renovations, technology updates and 20,000-square-foot building additions designed to accommodate flexible learning spaces and larger classrooms. Over the summer, second-floor classrooms and the media centers were renovated, and any additional interior renovations were completed.

“You always learn stuff from these projects,” said Shaner. “It’s an evolutionary process, and we will get even better at it. It’s also something that is dependent upon the site that you are working on — its age, who worked on it last, what was done, what you want to do it — so it is very complex, but I am very proud of what has been done so far. And I appreciate the community support very much.”

While students were away for the summer, workers also began to address some needs for many of the phase two projects — including at Baldwin, Hamlin, West and Adams High School. District officials said work on the district’s Alternative Center for Education — also a phase two project — and interior renovations at Adams High School will begin in September. District officials said projects at Baldwin, West and Hamlin would be complete by August of 2017. Construction at Adams and ACE will continue through August 2018.

Baldwin and Hamlin to see 2017-18 construction
This school year, Baldwin and Hamlin will receive a number of renovations.

“At Hamlin and Baldwin, it is essentially an infrastructure upgrade, replacing the whole mechanical system throughout those buildings,” said Pete Muscio, the district’s director of capital projects and facilities.

The work at Hamlin will cost approximately $4.3 million, while the Baldwin construction will cost approximately $3.1 million. Upgrades include configuring and securing the main entrances at both schools; upgrading mechanical and electrical systems; updating technology; replacing sidewalks and parking lots; enhancing playground equipment; upgrading the doors and windows; renovating the interiors, like new ceilings and paint; fixing an exterior leak at Baldwin; and putting in a 2,310-square-foot addition to the administrative office area at Hamlin.

“Hamlin is an interesting project because the whole orientation of the main office of the building is being changed largely in the interest of security. That is a much, much larger project than adding some security doors, for instance, like we did at McGregor last summer,” Shaner said.

Baldwin and Hamlin, according to Shaner, are “really good examples” of maintaining and making sure the district is delivering “excellent stewardship.”

“Some of that stuff had to be prioritized in front of some of the things that are maybe more attractive, so I guess I should apologize for that, but what I’d really like to say is that we are really, really, really focused on being excellent stewards of the taxpayers’ money and being very laser focused on what we promised to deliver so nobody misses out,” he said.

West Middle School selected for 2017-18 bond work
West Middle School will benefit from renovation projects this school year. Improvements — which total $3.1 million — include a 4,430-square-foot addition; relocating, configuring and securing the main entrance; upgrading technology; replacing the sidewalks and the parking lot; renovating interior spaces, including new carpeting in some classrooms; upgrading mechanical and electrical systems; enhancing the media center; and refreshing furniture and equipment.

“We also enhanced the entrance into the site,” Muscio said. “We created a new entry loop that is a lot longer and will allow more cars to be stacked in line to prevent traffic from backing up onto Old Perch.”

Enhancements and upgrades to the media center at West — along with Hamlin and Baldwin — are also part of phase two.

“There is a focus to change the overall design … so it’s a whole new approach to the media center design,” Muscio explained. “They now have this mobile and collaborative furniture, but then they also have mobile technology to go along with it. So the use of that space is really going to transform this year.”

Students, Musico said, are gravitating toward more collaborative environments.

“They are working in groups more today than they did in the past, so we wanted to make sure that the furniture and the design of the space kind of aided in that for them,” he said.

Adams High School to benefit from bond work in 2017-18
Although work on Adams High School was not slated to begin until September, the district elected to move the project up and begin repairing and replacing the school’s roof and skylight this summer.

“The condition of the existing roof and the skylight in that building couldn’t wait another year to be repaired and replaced, so we moved that project forward,” Muscio explained.

However, the bulk of the work at Adams, which will total around $10 million, will begin in September and run through August 2018, Muscio said. Improvements include: reconfiguring the main entrance, replacing the parking lot and sidewalk, replacing the roof, repairing and replacing the skylight, upgrading technology, improving the football stadium, resurfacing the tennis courts, renovating the interior, upgrading the doors, and implementing mechanical and electrical upgrades.

“A lot of the work will be focused on some stadium improvements. They get new grandstands on the home side, and then … we are going to be expanding the concession building that is at the north side of the stadium to incorporate new restrooms in there. You will see that building expand as well. Also, as part of the grandstand replacement on the home side, they will get a new press box,” Muscio said.

The varsity baseball field will be removed from its current location and will be placed on the upper fields, just west of the current location, to avoid flooding.

“The following summer, you will see some more of the parking lots and the main entrance reconfiguration completed. During the school year, there will be some interior renovations. Those will be mostly infrastructure and a couple upgrades of some classrooms, nothing too invasive. … Again, the bulk of the work will be done over the next summer,” Muscio explained.

Alternative Center for Education
Projects at the district’s Alternative Center for Education will begin in September and will run through August 2018.

Upgrades include a 30,000-square-foot addition to triple the size of the building — which will allow it to house three programs: the Alternative Center for Education, the district’s alternative high school; the Special Education Adult Transition program, previously known as WINGS, with three sections located at Adams and one section located at the administration building; and the Rochester Adult Center for Education, currently located at an off-site rental space.

“I think there is going to be a lot of opportunity for synergy there, in terms of the programs supporting each other and also getting our adult special education students more access to the community in an appropriate educational facility,” Shaner said. 

Looking ahead
The bond will address needs at Brooklands, Hampton, Long Meadow and McGregor elementary schools, and Hart Middle School for phase three during the 2017-18 school year.

The needs at Delta Kelly, North Hill and Meadow Brook elementary schools, along with those at Stoney Creek High School, will be addressed in year four of the bond issue, during the 2018-19 school year.

The bond will address needs at the remaining schools — Brewster and University Hills elementary schools, Reuther and Van Hoosen middle schools, and the administration building — in phase five, during the 2019-20 school year.

For more information on the bond projects, visit