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Godwin Heights halfway through 2020 bond improvements

Godwin Heights — When staff, students, family and alumni attended Godwin Heights football games in the fall, they were able to enter through a new, arched entryway off of 36th Street. The new entrance is one of the most noticeable improvements, to date, to come out of a $13.9 million bond issue approved by voters in 2020, and district officials are pleased with how the work is progressing. 

“At one time, the entrance to the football field had been on 36th Street,” Superintendent Bill Fetterhoff said. However, over the years, a different entrance was constructed on Hillcroft Avenue. 

As the district grew, the parking lot at the Hillcroft entrance became too small. Visitors had to park along the street and overflowed into the old GM parking lot off of 36th Street, which required a long walk to get into the football stadium.

“Through a great partnership with the city of Wyoming and City Manager Curtis Holt, we were able to move the entrance to 36th Street and utilize the former GM parking lot for parking,” Fetterhoff said.

Shiny and new are the athletic doors at Godwin Heights High School

At the Halfway Point

The 2020 bond was the second in a two-part series of bonds, the first approved in 2015, dedicated to facility upgrades, energy improvements, new buses, technology, athletic upgrades and improved security. 

While the improvements funded by the 2015 bond could be easily seen, such as filling in the school pool for a new auxiliary gym, much of the 2020 bond focuses on infrastructure needs.

“A lot of it is below the surface — items such as roof upgrades, heating and cooling and mechanical improvements,” Fetterhoff said. “These changes are to create a good school environment for our students to study and learn, and this is always our goal.”

Projects being funded by the 2020 bond include roofing assessments and possible repairs; a new boiler; improved heating and cooling controls; new carpeting, doors, and windows; new vans and buses; renovations at the track and baseball field; new band instruments; and student technology upgrades. District officials estimated that the work would take two years to complete.

The work was broken down into five areas: roof assessments and repairs; temperature control upgrades; and projects at the high school, the new athletic complex and the middle school.

At the halfway point in the work, projects are on track and supply chain issues have had little impact on the school renovations, said Assistant Superintendent of Finance and Operations Matt Hickson. The district is currently working on temperature controls for all the buildings to confirm that what is being displayed on a room’s monitor is the accurate temperature. 

Coming this spring, work on the middle school — the district’s original high school, built in 1929 — will start. The building is scheduled to receive restroom upgrades; complete locker room renovations; upgrades to heating and cooling systems; and new carpet, windows and doors. 

Back on the Field

Outside, the new arched entrance to the athletic fields is just the beginning of the athletic improvements. The entire entryway is new, with cement walkways and a retention wall. Other improvements include a new track, new doors at the high school’s athletic entrance and repairs to the retention wall in front of the stands.

Pointing to the right of the stands, Hickson shows where the old entrance was located. The Hillcroft parking lot is now designated for handicap and coach parking. 

At baseball’s McGavin Field, home plate has been moved from the east end of the field to the west, and players will enjoy the new dugouts when the season begins.

“The former athletic director made sure that all the baseball games last season were all away so that this field could be started in the spring,” Hickson said. The softball fields were upgraded with the 2015 bond.

Explore more unique video stories of students learning, interesting school programs and educators working to help all children succeed.

The new archway entrance to the Godwin Heights baseball and football fields is located off of 36th Street
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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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