2014-09-24 / Walled Lake School District

Walled Lake Schools nearing completion of Phase I of bond projects

CONTRIBUTING WRITER anne@scnmail.com

Key card access point at Pleasant Lake Elementary. (Photo submitted.) Key card access point at Pleasant Lake Elementary. (Photo submitted.) A mixture of Safety, Security and Techonology Bond's first phase and Building Site Sinking Fund (BSSF) projects kept Walled Lake Consolidated School District occupied this summer.

The district moved toward completion of Phase I of the Safety, Security and Technology Bond at Hickory Woods, Keith, Loon Lake, Meadowbrook, Oakley Park and Pleasant Lake elementary schools.

“This is a critical, multi-year Safety, Security and Technology Bond,” said Superintendent Kenneth Gutman. “Our community approved this bond, and we are entrusted with the implementation which will ensure the full complement of outlined safety systems. Technology will be installed in each of our 19 schools and five support buildings. Our children and community can rest assured that we will implement these projects in the least disruptive manner possible.”

Bill Chatfield, Director of Operations, who presented the board with an update at its Thursday, September 11 meeting, said, “The work we completed this summer was almost exactly the kinds of projects we promised the community we would provide for the schools when we approved this bond issue.”

Key components of this work are safety and security. Vital to that are the entrance/vestibule work performed in each of the six elementaries, which are designed to force any visitor to enter into the main office before being allowed into the main part of the school during school hours. This was accomplished by installing secure vestibules with an extra set of doors.

In addition, the schools received new installation of video surveillance cameras both inside and outside the school building to monitor activity as well as a new security alarm system and a new PA (public address) system. Other security-related items include a brand new code-compliant fire alarm systems, which are monitored by a central station to immediately alert the fire department, new keyless entry locksets on all entryway and classroom doors that require use of employee ID cards that double as the employee’s key. The six schools also were equipped with an emergency lockdown button, which can be pressed in the main office to immediately lock all classroom doors. That feature will be used several times a year in drills.

Digital clock systems, digital temperature control systems that will improve classroom comfort and save energy and money for the district also were installed in those schools, as were emergency backup generators that provide all the life safety systems needed to continue the school day. All six buildings also received kitchen equipment upgrades.

Installed district-wide were new, multi-function copiers.

“Another big piece of this summer’s bond work include updates to both the wired and wireless network systems throughout the district,” including new servers and switches, added Chatfield. Additional wireless network hubs were installed in strategic locations within schools, increasing wireless network coverage.

Twelve new buses were delivered and ready to go at the start of the school year.

A couple of items aren’t completed. “We’re still waiting for the instructional technology equipment and phone system,” Chatfield said.

They are ordered, he added, but won’t arrive until mid to late fall. “We will be installing those systems as they come in.” The work will take place after hours, so “we won’t disrupt the school day.”

He expects the equipment to arrive in late October to early November, noting that the classroom instructional equipment is only to be installed in the six elementaries included in Phase I. Next year, eight more schools will have it installed.

Judy Evola, Director, Community Relations, added, “We’re hopeful that throughout the year, we’ll install all the instructional technology” as well as the phones. She said the staff members already are being trained on the new equipment to be able to integrate the instructional technology into their teaching.

Chatfield added, “It’ll take most of the rest of the school year to complete these installations.”

Sinking fund projects completed included the classroom for the Great Start Readiness program, which is complete. The program has begun.

The district also replaced: chillers/AC at Pleasant Lake Elementary and boilers at Clifford Smart Middle School. Chatfield said that salvaging four of the six hydronic boilers from the former Maple Elementary helped the district to save money.

Geisler Middle School’s parking lot was replaced and painted; the district also replaced the deteriorated hard surface playground at Walled Lake Elementary as well as all carpet at Keith Elementary and made various softball repairs.

But probably the highlight of the BSSF projects this summer were completion of the multiphase, multiyear renovation of the baseball and softball fields at Walled Lake Western. This year, the district replaced and refurbished the boys’ and girls’ dugouts.

“They look great,” enthused Chatfield. “They’re going to be very pleased with those units come springtime.”

While all this work was taking place, design and bid plans for the Phase II schools for the Safety, Security and Technology Bond began. Phase II schools are Commerce, Dublin and Guest Elementary Schools and Geisler and Smart Middle Schools, as well as Central High School, Educational Services Center and Twin Sun Special Services building. 

Of the five support buildings, the ESC serves as the hub for much of the technology work, and it needs to be included in Phase II. 

They were chosen “based on complexity of design, comparative condition, geography and logistics,” according to written information provided by the school district.

TMP Architecture, Inc., Bloomfield Hills, is currently working on designs and plans for the Phase II buildings, which are slated for work in 2015. Auch Construction will serve the district as the construction management company for the work.

Phase III buildings are Walled Lake Western High School, Banks and Walnut Creek Middle Schools, Glengary, Walled Lake and Wixom Elementary Schools, as well as the Community Education Building and Operations. These buildings will receive the full complement of systems in 2016.

Each of the 19 schools and five support buildings will receive all safety, security and technology systems as described in the bond program all phases are completed.

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