Ludington schools bond: Why the buildings can’t just be fixed.

May 1, 2019
Superintendent Jason Kennedy interview on school bond issue.

Ludington schools bond: Why the buildings can’t just be fixed.

LUDINGTON — On Tuesday, May 7, voters in the Ludington Area School District are being asked to decide on a 2.32 mills bond issue which will build a new kindergarten through fifth grade complex, and completely renovate the middle school/high school complex, among some other facility improvements (see more details here).

The district has been asked several questions about the bond. Superintendent Jason Kennedy sat down with MCP recently to answer some of the questions. Over the next week, we will run a series of posts with answers to many of the questions. These questions and answers also appear on the district’s website. The accompanying video includes Kennedy’s full interview. 

Q: When someone looks at the total bond amount and asks why can’t we just fix the old buildings, what is the reasoning? 

A: The average age of the District’s school buildings is 64-years-old, and all schools are between 54- to 94-years-old. Many core infrastructure systems have outlived their expected life cycles. The District has done as much preventative maintenance as possible; simply to the point where systems can no longer be repaired and should be replaced. The bond proposal includes renovations and additions to the middle school and high school, continuing to invest into those facilities. During planning, the District weighed the options of improving the existing elementary buildings. Renovating four elementary buildings to meet current building code, and provide safe and modern learning environment for students was cost prohibitive. The District also considered operational efficiency, and determined that consolidating the four buildings into one building was the best plan for the future of Ludington Area School District. 

Q: In your research of these buildings what did you use in your estimates for repair? 

A: Bond proceeds cannot legally be used to “repair” buildings or infrastructure. The Master Facilities Assessment that was conducted by GMB Architecture and Engineering and The Christman Company can be found on the district’s website. The estimated cost of bringing the buildings up to code and today’s building standards is $55,097,000. The link to the website is here. Once on this webpage, select the expandable content box that says, “2018 Master Facilities Assessment.” Click on the links to parts 3 and 4 of the Master Facilities Plan and you will see line item costs associated with the estimated project cost to bring the current facilities up to today’s code and building standard. These costs begin on page 32 of part 3 and continue with all of part 4 of the Master Facilities Plan.

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