Portage Public Schools Planning $144 Million Project

PORTAGE, Mich. — Portage Public Schools recently organized a group stakeholders including of principals, administrators, staff, architects and parents to work together over the next three months to plan a $144 million construction project for the district.

A bond implementation steering committee will head the planning process and will take recommendations from five advisory committees made up of the aforementioned stakeholders. The committees were formed following the passage of two construction bonds issues, which were passed in November, reported MLive.

Proposal I for $128 million was approved by 64 percent of voters. It included construction of new North and Central Middle Schools, remodeling of West Middle School, new swimming pools at Northern and Central High Schools, 30 new school buses and instructional technology for all schools. Proposal II provided $16 million to build a new stadium at each high school, and passed with a 56 percent majority. The committees will make recommendations on campus plans, the middle schools, Curious Kids-Community High School, pools and the stadiums.

In a board meeting on Jan. 11, Portage Public Schools Superintendent Mark Bielang outlined a plan that includes bonds sales in early May and construction bids taking place in November or December, reported MLive. Bielang said that the key part of the plan will be determining where buildings and facilities will be located at each of the high schools and that he hopes the plan can be ready in March. Once the plan is completed, the committees will present it to the board for a recommendation of approval.

In the more immediate future, the board will be asked to take a vote to approve one of three construction managers for the projects at its next meeting on Jan. 25. In December, the board hired architects c2ae and Stantec to design the buildings and facilities. Both architecture firms have offices in Lansing, Mich.