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District weighs options for community center projects

Board to discuss a supplemental bond proposal tonight

Caledonia — At the intersection of Kraft Avenue SE and Johnson Street SE, construction of the anticipated Cal Community Center is making progress. However, the district may be going back to voters with another proposal sooner than expected due to increased construction costs. 

In order to complete the community center and additional projects, the district has decided to pursue a $61 million supplementary bond for a new Dutton Elementary, football stadium renovations and other projects previously removed from the 2020 bond to cut costs. 

If approved by the board, this bond would appear on the ballot later this year. 

“We are proposing a supplemental bond to complete the vision of the original bond,” Superintendent Dedrick Martin said. “We are able to do all of these things at a zero percent tax rate increase.” 

The district is pursuing a $61 million supplementary bond for a new Dutton Elementary, football stadium renovations and other projects previously removed from the 2020 bond

The district broke ground for the Cal Community Center — so named after a community vote of more than 180 submissions — in October 2021, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids. Still on track to be completed in spring 2024, the 47,000-square-foot community center will be open to the public and feature a swimming pool and multi-use gymnasium.

The center is being funded by the May 2020 passage of the district’s $88.09 million bond proposal, which also included construction of a new elementary school, safety and security updates and facility repairs and upgrades. 

As shared in a CCS board of education bond update presentation, the district is facing economic pressures in construction that are causing project costs to be higher than expected. 

“We’re seeing inflationary costs at the grocery store, gas stations and other services,” Martin said. “We look to (a) bond for what we need to complete the 2020 vision, based on the reality of inflationary times we’re in and to make sure our kids and community have the facilities they deserve.”  

This list of projects to complete includes classroom additions, playground repairs and security updates. 

The board will discuss getting this supplemental bond on the May 2023 ballot at tonight’s regular board meeting.

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Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”


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