Final LASD bond forum draws about 30 people

May 2, 2019

Roughly 30 people were in attendance for the final of three Ludington Area School District bond informational forums held at Peterson Auditorium.

The Ludington Area School District Board of Education is asking for more than $100 million to build a new elementary school and make renovations and add new construction to the current secondary school. The bond also includes upgrades to the school’s athletic facilities and transportation department.

Superintendent Jason Kennedy again answered many of the frequently asked questions he has received during the previous two bond forums.

Opening the floor, Kennedy received questions that ranged from, “If the bond does not pass on May 7, what is the next step in the process?” to “Where is the growth predictions (to increase over the next five year) of students coming from?”

Kennedy said that regardless of what happens on May 7, there will be a lot of work to do in the district.

“If the proposal passes then it will be with the work of designing the concept scenarios and bring them to fruition,” he said. “If the proposal does not pass, then we are back to square one and figure out what we do to move forward. It will be the board of education’s call on that.”

Kennedy did share with those in attendance at Wednesday’s forum that the board shared with him that they would plan to move ahead with a new plan. Kennedy mentioned that construction costs would not get any cheaper.

“Is there any reason there is not a concept scenario that shows a two-story building?” was another question from the audience.

Kennedy said that the district has had conversations with the architect about one-story versus two-story buildings.

“Those are things that we would certainly have to consider through the design phase,” he said. “Yes, when you add a second floor, you do increase costs for things like elevators, but you likely decrease costs in other areas as well. When you think about renovating a building like Lakeview Elementary School, one of the things that would have to be done is to add an elevator. That would be an ADA (American with Disabilities Act) requirement. We have taken a lot of those issues into consideration in the design of the proposal. Right now, we are planning on them being single floor.”

Dan LaMore of Christman Company, the construction management team working with the district on the proposal, said that the elementary school was designed for grade levels to be in pods.

“In elementary education, there are certain grade levels we can not put on the second floor because of code compliances,” he said. “Those include below grade two.”

As far as the growth predictions over the next five years, Kennedy said the experts examine birth rates, housing and more to determine future students.

“I can tell you, last year we had 104 students at our kindergarten round-up. We had 157 at round-up this year,” Kennedy said. “We will generally gain between 20 and 40 students over the summer, so for us to have had a kindergarten number as high as it is already is a very positive sign for us.”

Kennedy said that the summary of the enrollment survey is on the district’s website. He told those in attendance that he will post the entire study online. It will be up in the next few days.

The bond proposal will before those residents in the Ludington Area School District, Tuesday, May 7, and the polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. The Ludington Daily News will be updating the results as they come in on Tuesday.