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Bond proposal would fund elementary renovations, high school upgrades

Community to consider $104 million request on May 7 

Lowell — A $29.9 million renovation of Cherry Creek Elementary and $32.4 million in improvements at Lowell High School are major projects included in the $104 million bond proposal voters will consider on May 7.

The Board of Education in February approved putting the proposal on the May ballot. No tax rate increase is expected from the current debt millage rate of 7 mills.  

The bond focuses on modernizing learning spaces, improving fine arts, athletics and community spaces and updating infrastructure, said Superintendent Nate Fowler. In shaping the plan, the district completed a facilities assessment, hosted community forums and prioritized needs. 

Cherry Creek Elementary, 12675 Foreman St., is a sprawling former middle school. The bond would allow for it to be transformed into an elementary-style building with a focus on redesigned classrooms, corridors and shared spaces, site drainage and mechanics. 

The redesign would mirror the newly renovated Lowell Middle School, which was funded by a $52.1 million bond passed by voters in 2019. It is an example of how design can promote collaboration, critical thinking and other opportunities for students to develop skills they need for their futures, Fowler said.

An investment of $32.4 million at the high school would include the renovation and expansion of the arts wing, creating designated space for the orchestra program. The top-notch orchestra currently shares space with other music programs. Improvements to high-school athletics, including replacing the aging track, are also planned.

 Equipment upgrades also are needed, Fowler said

“The story at the high school is about aging equipment. In the auditorium, lighting, sound —  all of the things that go into running an auditorium —  are 30-plus years old.”

The middle school would also get $6.8 million in upgrades, including the addition of a 9,500 square-foot auxiliary gym. 

Watch an informational video from LAS about the May 7 bond request (courtesy)

Alto Elementary would receive $6.5 million in upgrades and renovations; Bushnell Elementary and Murray Lake would receive $6.8 million and $1.4 million, respectively, in upgrades and renovations; Unity High School, the preschool program TOTS and the administration building would receive a total of $6.8 million in work including new flooring, restroom renovations and mechanical updates.

The high-school athletics program would receive $3.8 million, and the Wittenbach Center would receive $150,000 in renovations.

Fowler said LAS offers nice, high-quality facilities that support student learning without being extravagant.

“The Lowell community has been very supportive of the school system, forever,” he said. “It’s been important to the Board of Education to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. I feel like these projects continue that tradition.”

Read more from Lowell: 
Middle-schoolers develop skills, confidence through theater
Radio station founder’s voice continues to echo

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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