- Okemos Public Schools is currently upgrading facilities and buildings across the district as part of the $265 million bond passed by voters in 2022.
- Major improvements over the summer include a new stadium and soccer complex, secure vestibules and upgrades to the gym, bathrooms and lockers at Okemos Public Montessori Central.
- Construction is still on-going. Football and soccer games have been moved to new locations for the start of the season and alernate entrances have been set up at Okemos Public Montessori Central and Edgewood Early Childhood Center.
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
It's been a busy summer for the Okemos School District after they broke ground on their 2022 bond construction project in June. As students get ready to head back to the classroom Wednesday, progress is being made.
The bond passed by voters in 2022, was $275 million for construction on various buildings throughout the district.
“We started with secure vestibules at Okemos Public Montessori," said Superintendent John Hood. "We're doing secure vestibules this fall at Bennett Woods and Cornell. Edgewood Early Childhood Center is getting a secure vestibule right now and then some improvements to the athletic fields and stadium at Okemos High School.”
The stadium and soccer complex is one of the major projects underway right now. Those upgrades are running into the beginning of some high school sports seasons.
“Construction does take a little longer than what we expected, but we did expect a little bit of a hiccup," said Okemos Athletic Director Ken Hintze. "So we're playing off site currently and then we're hoping to transition, hopefully in September sometime, and to bring everyone back home here on campus, including our football and soccer teams.”
Hintze says neighboring districts have been helpful when it comes to hosting football games.
“Football is going to be hosted at East Lansing High School on the 25th. So this Friday," Hintze said. "We're hoping that the weather is going to be a nice on Friday. So East Lansing was very nice neighbors to us and said that they would take on that game."
Other sports are taking advantage of other fields across the district.
“Soccer has gone back to where it all started at old Chippewa," Hintze said. "So that's our varsity fields that our team first started at. So we're excited to kind of bring some heritage and tradition back to the program there."
Another large focus for the first part of the construction project was security upgrades.
“All of our entrances will be what's called a secure vestibule which means once we buzz someone in they don't have open access just to get into the building that they have to go through a main office,” Hood said.
Edgewood and Okemos Public Montessori Central were the first two to receive the security enhancement. Once supplies come in, Bennett Woods and Cornell will be next.
“We knew these projects would bleed into the start of the school year," Hood said. "So the team has been working with our construction partners to make sure we have alternate entrances at Edgewood and at Montessori.”
Other upgrades were made in Okemos Public Montessori and include a new gym, bathrooms and lockers for all the kids to look forward to on their first day.
“This is a game changing in terms of upgrading our facilities," Hood said. "We just ask for everyones patience and understanding, because we're going to have top of the line facilities for our students to enjoy and learn in and compete in for years to come.”
The upgrades across the district will also include a new 5th and 6th grade building and 7th and 8th grade building. Construction on those are expected to start next year.
Updates on the construction projects can be found here.
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