MCC holds second community forum to discuss possible bond. 

June 29, 2021

Superintendent Jeff Mount talks about facility needs.

MCC holds second community forum to discuss possible bond. 

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central Schools held its second community forum Tuesday, June 29, to discuss a possible bond. A large portion of the bond would address facilities, including updating portions of the high school that have seen little updates since the building was completed in 1959, plus updates to all the buildings in the district, along with construction of a performing arts center (auditorium) at the high school. 

Superintendent Jeff Mount said the district’s administrative team and the board of education’s building and grounds committee have identified several areas of the district that are in need. Buildings such as the high school, Scottville Elementary, and the middle school, have had updates over the years, since they were built. However, the last updates were about 15 years ago, with the exception of recent updates to every building’s energy efficiency.  

Possible auditorium configuration.

High School, built in 1959. Since it was built, the high school has seen renovations. The band room was renovated in the mid-1990s. “C” Hall (the western hall that runs north-south), was renovated in 2006, along with the cafeteria. At that time A.O. Carlson Gymnasium was turned into a multi-purpose space, which included using it as an auxiliary gym and a performance space. In addition, a new gym was built in 2006 and the front entrance was updated. The Central Business Office was also added onto the northeast portion of the high school, a partial conversion from the old metals shop. Updates were limited to areas that included “A” Hall, the east hall that runs north-south, “B” Hall, the north hall that runs east-west, the kitchen, the library, the home economics room, the wood shop and the administrative offices. 

Possible updates are estimated to cost $4.2 million and include: 

  • Secured entry (while the entrance is currently secured, more layers of protection are needed). 
  • Updating of “B Hall” corridor and classrooms (including the library), which have had very little updates since 1959. B Hall is the hall located on the north side of the building that runs east and west.
  • Modernize the home economics space
  • Bathroom renovations in B Hall
  • Select infrastructure updates
  • Improve traffic

Scottville Elementary (lower elementary), built in 1951. As with the high school, Scottville Elementary has seen renovations since it was built. In the mid-1970s the multi-purpose room (gym/cafeteria) were built, along with the library. In 2006, the west wing and new offices were built and the original portion of the school was updated. 

Possible updates are estimated to cost $1 million and include: 

  • •Infrastructure upgrades
  • •Security cameras
  • •Remove modular units
  • •Building envelope repairs
  • •Replace damaged ceiling tiles
  • •Secured entry

Middle School, built in 1976. Various updates were made to the middle school in 2006. 

  • Possible updates are estimated to cost $825,000 and include: 
  • Secured entry
  • Replace all ceiling pads and grid
  • Re-purpose computer labs (labs are no longer needed since every student has a computer)

Upper Elementary, built in 2006. While the Upper Elementary is the district’s newest building, it is now 15 years old and in need of some updating. Those possible updates are estimated to cost $740,000 and include: 

  • Secured entry
  • Replace ceiling tiles
  • Replace flag pole

Victory Early Childhood Center, opened in 1955 as Victory Township Unit School, then Victory Elementary following consolidation with MCC in 1956. Became VECC in 2006. The school has had various updates over the years. A current update need is paving the school parking lot at an estimated cost of $338,000. 

Bus Garage. Bus garage improvements, estimated at $128,354, would include: 

  • Remove current trailer and construct a permanent office. 
  • Parking lot improvements. 

Grounds. Throughout the school’s Scottville campus, parking lots and roadways are in need of repairs and new signs are needed. Estimated costs would be $1.5 million. 

Arts and Athletics. The largest cost that may be included in a bond proposal would include upgrades to A.O. Carlson auxiliary gym and the construction of a performing arts center at an estimated cost of $15 million. The performing arts center construction, which would likely be on the southeast portion of the high school, south of the current band room, would replace the school’s present administrative offices. New offices would be built south of the auditorium as part of a new main entrance. 

Over the month of June, the community was asked to fill out a survey, available through the district’s website and mobile app. About 100 people filled out the survey, 70% of whom had children or grandchildren in the district; 33% were staff; and 79% had attended events at the school at least three times per year. 

The following were some of the results: 

  • Rate the district’s academic facilities: 1-5, five being the best: 5, 12.1%; 4, 34.1%; 3, 35.2%; 2, 16.5%; 1, 2.2%. 
  • Do you believe that the current facilities are conducive to modern 21st century learning? 23.4%, yes; 47.9%, no; 28.7, unsure.
  • Do you think there is sufficient pick-up/drop-off parking? 39.3% yes; 44%, no; 16.7%, unsure.
  • Do you think there is sufficient event parking? 55.7%, yes; 33%, no; 11.4%, unsure.
  • Rate the overall safety and security in the district (1-5, five being the best): 5, 20.5%; 4, 46.6%; 3, 23.9%; 2, 6.8%; 1, 2.3%. 
  • Rate the athletic facilities: 5, 12.1%; 4, 34.1%; 3, 35.2%; 2, 16.5%; 1, 2.2%. 
  • Do you support adding synthetic turf to the existing football field? 47.9%, yes; 26.6%, no; 25.5%, unsure.
  • Rate the district’s art facilities: 5, 3.2%; 4, 22.6%; 3, 41.9%; 2, 27.4%; 1, 4.8%. 
  • Would you support creating a space that would seat 500 to 600 patrons in an auditorium style venue? 60.9%, yes; 15.2%, no; 23.9%, unsure.
  • Do you believe there is a need in our community for this type of space? 65.2%, yes; 18%, no; 16.9%, unsure.
  • Do you believe that the district’s site and facility needs warrant a bond proposal? 67.7%, yes; 8.5%, no; 24.5%, unsure.
  • Would you support a moderate rate increase to meet these needs? 70.5%, yes; 10.5%, no; 18.9%, unsure.

Superintendent Jeff Mount explained that, based on the above needs, the district would need to raise about $25 million. Presently, some of the 2006 millage rate has expired and will continue to expire over the next several years. The district could request a renewal, which would keep the tax rate the same. This renewal, 3.33 mills, would generate about $23,750,000 over the next 25 years. However, the district would be unable to build an auditorium until 2026.

Another option would be to request a 1 mill tax increase, 4.33 mills, which would generate about $24,965,000 over the next 25 years. This increase would cost a homeowner, with a home valued at $100,000 (as a base for comparison), $4.17 per month, or about $50 per year. 

A third option would be to increase the millage 1.5 mills, 4.83, which would generate $30 million over the next 25 years. This would cost a homeowner, with a home valued at $100,000 $6.26 per month, or about $75 per year. 

The 1 mill or 1.5 mill increase would mean all construction and improvements could take place beginning in 2022, with a May 2022 election. 

Mount said the 1 mill increase is probably the best scenario. Compared to other school districts in the region, MCC’s current 3.33 millage is in the lower percentage of the median range. Increasing to 4.33 would move it to the higher percentage of the median range. Ludington Area School District’s recent millage was increased to 3.35 mills to fund its $100 million k-5 complex construction and renovations to its high school and middle school, among other facilities. Hart Public School District’s rate is 2.81; Morely Stanwood is 3 mills; Shelby, 3.64; Bear Lake is 3.75; Reed City, 3.9; Onekama, 4; Kaleva Norman Dickson, 4.15; Big Rapids, 5; Holton, 7; Fremont, 7; Hesperia, 7.5; Montague, 7.8; White Cloud, 9.5; Pentwater, 1.2; Baldwin, 1.24. 

Mount said an additional community forum will take place in July. 

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