The Stoney Creek High School Media Center is being  completely renovated for a more collaborative learning  environment thanks to the bond.

The Stoney Creek High School Media Center is being completely renovated for a more collaborative learning environment thanks to the bond.

RCS enters final phase of $185 million in bond projects

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 7, 2020

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — The Rochester Community Schools district is entering the final phase of the district’s five-year, $185 million bond issue.

With four phases now complete, RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner said, the remaining projects are moving full steam ahead.

“We continue to be on time and on budget — that was something that was really important to us from the beginning,” he said.

During the fifth and final phase of the bond projects, five of the district’s buildings will receive improvements — Brewster and University Hills elementary schools, Reuther and Van Hoosen middle schools, and Stoney Creek High School.

RCS Capital Projects and Facilities Director Pete Muscio said both Reuther and Van Hoosen middle schools will receive new parking lots with LED lighting and new sidewalks. Within the schools, the corridors will be outfitted with LED lighting and new paint; classrooms will get a fresh coat of paint and new carpet; and floors will be replaced in the cafeteria, and the band and choir rooms. The media centers at both schools will be renovated for a more collaborative design and will receive new furniture and carpet; the main offices will be upgraded with fresh paint and new carpeting; and the gym will get new bleachers and the floors will get refinished and repainted.

Over at Stoney Creek High School, crews already replaced the athletic field turf and the entire school roof, added water and power to the athletic field, and renovated and added new furniture to the media center during phase four. Improvements were also made to the softball and baseball fields at Adams, Stoney Creek and Rochester high schools — including adding power to the softball dugouts, bleachers and/or batting cages, in many cases. For phase five at Stoney Creek, Muscio said 80% of the renovation consists of heating, ventilating and air conditioning upgrades.

“We are replacing a number of air handling systems in the building — that’s probably the largest component of it,” he explained.

Additional phase five work includes repaving the north and south parking lots, adding LED lighting, and conducting extensive concrete replacement throughout the campus. Within the building, LED lighting will be added to the corridors, the media center will be completely renovated with collaboration spaces, and there will be some interior painting and minimal flooring upgrades.

Work at Brewster Elementary began in February 2019 and is expected to be complete this summer. Improvements include: a new 20,000-square-foot addition, interior renovations with mechanical and electrical system upgrades, a new secured entrance, improvements to the playground, a renovated media center with new furniture, a repaved parking lot and new sidewalks.

“We’re working on completing all the phase five projects before the start of school this summer — so mid-August — with the exception of the final phase of University Hills, which extended to the fall because we lost six weeks of time during the COVID shutdown. We couldn’t make that time up,” Muscio explained.

Upgrades at University Hills include a new 20,000-square-foot addition, interior renovations, mechanical and electrical system upgrades, a new secured entrance, playground upgrades, a renovated media center with new furniture, a repaved parking lot, and new sidewalks.

Thus far, Muscio said, construction has gone smoothly.

“We haven’t missed an opening day with any of the buildings yet, and as time has progressed, we have gotten more efficient at the renovation process,” he said. “We’re well within budget as well, which is very good news.”

RCS Executive Director of Technology and Strategic Initiatives Cindy Lindner said the bond has also supported a number of technology and infrastructure updates — including video camera and secure entrance systems, a new districtwide Wi-Fi system, a radio system for all buses, device updates, and classroom and media center technology, as well as updates to phones, public address systems, clocks, copiers and more. The bond is also supporting a 1-to-1 student device initiative with sustainability provided through the sinking fund.

“We also have a districtwide all-call channel that will go to all administrators, and then we have another phase of that where we replace the radios in each of the schools too,” she said.

Shaner said the district is now up to speed “at a level of world-class facilities.”

“We’re also poised to be able to sustain that. That was always important to us. We put the bond proposal out there, the community supported us and we felt a very deep moral conviction to deliver as much as we possibly could to the community at the highest level we could, and now, with the sinking fund, we feel we will be able to sustain that,” he added.

The district, he said, really appreciates the community’s support.

“Rochester is a unique community. They are very personally attached to their public schools and supportive, and we take that very personally and, hopefully, deliver on it very intentionally,” he said.

For more information on the bond projects, visit www.rochester.k12.mi.us.

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