School officials said Walled Lake Western High School will receive major upgrades through the bond. Overall, 22 buildings will see much-needed improvements, officials said.

School officials said Walled Lake Western High School will receive major upgrades through the bond. Overall, 22 buildings will see much-needed improvements, officials said.

File photo by Deb Jacques


Major bond issue passes in Walled Lake schools

By: Andy Kozlowski | C&G Newspapers | Published May 9, 2019

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By a more than 2-to-1 ratio, voters in the Walled Lake Consolidated Schools district passed a 30-year, $316 million bond issue covering building and infrastructure needs during a special election Tuesday, May 7.

The results came back 7,219 votes in favor of the proposal and 3,220 votes against, with a total of 10,439 residents voting.

“The bond translates to an improved, upgraded and competitive advantage for Walled Lake Schools’ students and community,” Kenneth Gutman, the superintendent of WLCSD, said in a statement. “The fact that the community overwhelmingly supported, 2-to-1, one of the largest bonds in the state is a clear indication that the … residents and school community believe in our mission and want to invest in buildings that will support learning for our children for many years to come.”

The district currently has five outstanding debt obligations, four of which will be paid off within the next five years. For the debt millage levied in 2018, residents paid 4.53 mills, which equates to $453 per year for a home valued at $200,000, with a taxable value of $100,000.

Now the annual debt millage to retire the current bonds — as well as the new bond itself — will actually decrease by 0.4 mill to just 4.13 mills, so that the same homeowner will pay $413 per year.

The district collects $1 for every $1,000 of a home’s taxable value, multiplied by the millage rate. The money collected will fund an array of projects throughout the district.

This includes erecting, completing, equipping and furnishing a replacement elementary school for Dublin Elementary; it will be constructed alongside the current building, which is nearly a century old and located at 425 Farnsworth Road in White Lake. The current building, built in 1928, is showing its age with heating and cooling issues, and pipes that are falling apart, including one that burst in a hallway last year. The original three-story building is also not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, lacking an elevator for students who need one.

Once the replacement is complete, the original building will be demolished, and the land replaced with paved areas and playgrounds. The new Dublin Elementary will feature 24 classrooms in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, an early childhood extension, a large-group instructional space, a gymnasium, a music room, an art room, a cafeteria, a playground, and support spaces for special education, administration, custodial services and more. The new building will also be fully furnished and feature modern security systems, improved technology, LED lighting, and paved spaces for parking and picking up/dropping off kids.

The rebuilt Dublin Elementary is part of the district’s response to a Plante Moran study on community demographics that showed that 56% of eligible children in the district do not attend its preschool programs.

Another major project is Walled Lake Western High School, located at 600 Beck Road in Walled Lake, which will receive major upgrades in the form of a new, secure-entry vestibule; new administrative and counseling offices; a new academic wing featuring 46 teaching spaces; a new robotics lab; 16 remodeled teaching spaces; a remodeled kitchen and cafeteria; remodeled athletic spaces, including the gym, weight room and locker rooms; a remodeled auditorium, including support spaces and new equipment, flooring and seating; new heating and cooling, including improvements to plumbing and fire suppression systems; exterior upgrades to the roof, windows and siding; interior upgrades, including new furniture; upgrades to the gymnasium; upgrades to the natatorium, including filtration, mechanical and pool equipment; site work in the form of paving, LED lighting, a resurfaced track, stadium lighting, field drainage and partial demolition; and a new stadium team room building.

The bond issue will also pay for improvements at the district’s other 20 buildings, in the form of exterior and interior upgrades; HVAC upgrades, including boilers and exhaust fans; work on electrical panels and outlets; site upgrades for playgrounds and parking; security upgrades; improved technology; and more.

More than $500 million in projects were identified when needs were assessed, but the district narrowed the list to the ones that were most needed, which will be covered by the $316 million bond.

The district services all or portions of Farmington Hills, Novi, Orchard Lake, Walled Lake, Wixom, Commerce Township, West Bloomfield Township, White Lake Township, and the Village of Wolverine Lake.

“We want to thank everyone who voted, our parents, staff and many senior citizens who continually support WLCSD school initiatives,” said Judy Evola, director of community relations and marketing for the district, in a statement. “Most importantly, we want to thank Mr. Tim Lynch and Mrs. Jenn Ludwig, and the entire Citizens Committee who communicated their support in a professional manner throughout this election.”

For more information, contact Judy Evola at judyevola@wlcsd.org.

Call Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at (586) 279-1104.

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