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As the new Superintendent, I’m thrilled the community united in support of our children and the district’s long-term facilities needs through the bond passed in 2016. The Board of Education and Administration take this vote of confidence seriously and are working hard to maximize every public dollar.

To make these large construction projects a reality requires the dedication and expertise of a number of professional architects, construction managers, and building planners working in collaboration and cooperation with district and building administrators. We are fully focused on that effort.

As a reminder, in May, 2016, Comstock voters approved a $40,130,000 bond. To maximize the number of dollars available for construction, these dollars will be spent in three series over the course of nine years. The money must be spent for improvements and preservation of the district’s buildings and facilities. By issuing the bonds in three series, the overall interest costs are less than if the bonds were issued all at once.

To help ensure the best construction results possible, the Board of Education completed an exhaustive bid and interview process which resulted in the employment of two keys firms - GMB Architects and Miller Davis Construction.

GMB is a Michigan firm based in Grand Rapids with a local office in Holland. The company has over 50 years of experience and specializes in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, and a full range of K-12 pre-bond marketing services.

GMB has over 100 employees in nine architectural disciplines. The role of these professionals is twofold - to provide the district with a master plan for the projects as well as to design specific locations for rooms, offices, entrances, and utilities. The architects continually meet with the administration to find out what the schools need and then engage in proposing specific designs that balance those needs with the monies available in the bond.

Miller Davis is a Kalamazoo firm with its office located conveniently downtown. The company was founded in 1909, and provides general contracting, construction management, and construction consulting services. These professionals work hand in hand with the architects and the school administration and oversee the actual construction projects. After the district finalizes the architectural designs and cost projections, Miller Davis hires the specialized construction companies that actually do the work - masons, electricians, plumbers, roofers, tilers, and a host of other companies.

Since our buildings are all older, federal regulations regarding lead and asbestos require abatement companies to remove the dangerous materials safely and properly. These costs are factored into the overall budget. Essentially, our counterparts at Miller Davis act as our advocates during construction and ensure that these varying companies work together collaboratively and complete their contractual obligations according to detailed specifications and required timelines.

I am pleased to announce that Phase I is now nearly complete. This phase included front office and secure entry renovations at all buildings, remodeled bathrooms across the district, and high school locker room rebuilds.

Both Phases II and III are currently in design discussions. While all buildings will experience improvements, the main focus of Phase II is on NEMS. It is fair to say that the school is being “gutted” and completely rebuilt from within. We are extremely excited by early designs and concepts.

As with Phase II, Phase III also touches all buildings but emphasis will be on redesigning the interior of the high school. It is important to note that through this bond, both NEMS and CHS will be completely air conditioned when the rebuilds are finished. For more details, see the district’s website. Also, we’ll be providing regular bond updates in each issue of the Communicator.

If you have any questions about our bond projects, feel free to contact me at your convenience. Call me at 269-250-8907 or by email at thoenesj@comstockps.org.
Posted by Jason Hall  On Dec 04, 2018 at 10:11 AM
  
Playground improvements are happening now at each of our elementary schools, and they are due to be completed by the start of the 2018-19 school year! Your kids are going to love the improvements!

Playground Improvements

Playground Improvements

Playground Improvements

playground Improvements

playground Improvements

playground Improvements

Posted by Jason Hall  On Aug 15, 2018 at 11:41 AM 27 Comments
  

At the March regular meeting, the Board of Education voted to move forward with the issuance of Series II of the 2016 Bond Issue. Originally, Series II was scheduled for issuance in the summer of 2019. Strong property value growth in the district has allowed the district to issue those bonds a year early.
The Board considered several factors in making the decision to accelerate issuing series II of the 2016 Bond. The factors included:

  • By issuing the bonds a year early, the Board could avoid any future interest rate hikes, potentially saving hundreds, if not millions, in interest costs.
  • By accelerating the construction schedule by at least a year, the district could save on the construction inflation costs. Currently, with the tight labor market and high demand for skilled trades, the inflation rate for construction is approximately 5-7 percent. The accelerated schedule could save the District between $500,000 and $700,000.
  • With this accelerated construction schedule, the students and community would receive the benefit of the construction projects a year earlier.

The major projects contained in Series II of the 2016 bond issue are:

  • Remodeling NEMS
  • High school site improvements
  • Elementary playground improvements
  • Paving improvements / replacements – throughout the district
  • Technology equipment
  • Other furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Planning for these projects is in process, and the Board will be presented with drawings at an upcoming meeting. The goal is to begin the bid process this summer.

The following is the status of Series I of the 2016 bond issue projects:

  • High school entrance – 4/24/18 scheduled completion date
  • NEMS entrance – Completed
  • North Elementary entrance – 3/20/18 scheduled completion date
  • Green Meadow Elementary entrance – 3/26/18 scheduled completion date
  • STEM Academy entrance – 6/13/18 scheduled construction timeline
  • Compass High School entrance – 6/11/18 scheduled completion date
  • High School Locker Rooms – 3/5/18 to 8/31/18 scheduled construction timeline
  • Restrooms, all buildings – 6/13/18 to 8/31/18 scheduled construction timeline

Overall, the construction projects are proceeding according to the planned schedule and budget. Please feel free to contact the superintendent if you have any questions at 269-250-8907 or morat@comstockps.org.

Posted by Jason Hall  On Apr 04, 2018 at 12:24 PM 36 Comments
  

As we return from winter break, Green Meadow Elementary School will be under construction. In order for construction to take place, traffic flow will change and part of the building will be inaccessible.

Please note the following:

  • The front circle drive will be off limits except for bus traffic before/after school. Please use the parking lot and side entrance to the west of the school if you are visiting or picking up a child during the school day.
  • The main office will now be located in the library. All adults will enter the side of the building from the parking lot and go to the corner of the library to greet Mrs. Connor or Mrs. Watson.
  • Mrs. Caswell, Mrs. Boyce, Mr. McMeekan will now have offices in the library.The main entrance hallway from Mrs. McMurtrie’s room forward will be walled off and off limits
  • Drop off and pick up will be at the library. Parents will be expected to sign students in and get a pass at the beginning of the day. Pick up parents will get a pass in the library and wait in the gym as usual.
  • The bus loop will be used for construction offices and equipment. However, it WILL continue to be available for arrival and dismissal for BUS traffic only. Bus riders will be the only students who will use the door by Mrs. Lanings’s room before and after school. The door will be locked during all other times.

While this work will cause some difficulties, we are excited for the changes that will be made to enhance Green Meadow Elementary. The projected timeline for our project is from December, 2017 to March, 2018. We hope that the work will be able to be completed in the spring, and we will soon have secure entrances and an overall new feel at Green Meadow Elementary.

Posted by Jason Hall  On Jan 08, 2018 at 11:46 AM 17 Comments
  
Here's a glimpse into what's going on behind the wall at Comstock High School. This clip comes from the latest episode of K-12 360 from the Public Media Network.

Posted by Jason Hall  On Nov 02, 2017 at 1:05 PM 26 Comments
  
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