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Improvements in Schools, and Around Them, Greet Students This Fall

Students will have new computers, safer schools, and ride buses that save money and are better for the environment when they return to Thornapple Kellogg Schools.

The improvements were paid for with the $6.2 million bond package voters approved in May 2014. The money paid for building renovations, technology upgrades and new buses. This included the replacement of several parking lots, driveways and sidewalks, the football field and the track.

The newly installed “where and when” computer system guarantees students have a computer available where and when they need one. The safety measures included building vestibules at some of the schools, installing a security device called “The Boot” on more than 300 doors, and more security cameras.

The district’s eight new buses run on propane, which will mean savings for the district according to Shawn Haywood, transportation and operations manager. Using propane has become popular in school districts because the elimination of emission equipment lowers the maintenance cost, Haywood said.

Also, females will spend a little less time in stadium restroom lines this year. The number of women’s toilets at the stadium doubled from three to six.

Newer, Safer and Better

A $6.2 million, voter-approved bond package will pay for several improvements this school year. They include:

  • Safety renovations, including vestibules and classroom door security hardware, at McFall, Lee and Page elementaries, the Learning Center and the middle and high schools
  • Repaving of the bus loop and replacement of damaged sidewalks at the middle school
  • Removal of the tennis courts, repaving the bus loop, driveway and sidewalk, and the addition of fencing at McFall Elementary
  • Replacement of windows and sidewalks, and upgrading of heating and cooling systems, playground and kitchen equipment at Page Elementary
  • Replacement of bus loop and driveway at Lee Elementary
  • Replacement and insulation of the pool roof and flooring, the smaller gym’s sound system, football field turf, track and field area, press box and three scoreboards; renovation of locker rooms and upgrade of heating and cooling systems at high school
  • Replacement of eight buses which were 10-12 years old
  • Purchase of security cameras at schools and a new phone system


School Buses Go Green with Eco-friendly Propane Fuel, USA Today

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Linda Odette
Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.


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