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Putting the Lansing School District bond to work

Posted: 5:57 PM, Aug 22, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-23 07:57:30-04

 Old buildings, old technology and lack of security are just three reasons the Lansing School District asked voters to approve a $120 million bond.

“It's absolutely critical. You can't, you know, the kids deserve to have a 21st Century learning environment and so we're really excited to be moving forward,” said Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul.

Moving forward to give the District a new look and provide new opportunities for students.

Superintendent Canul says two committees are already up and running to come up with a spending plan.

“They meet with input groups, so groups from the schools, the stakeholders from the schools, to find out what do we need to do differently and how do we move forward and what are you thinking that you want to have,” she explained.

In the works, a plan to turn the old Fairview Elementary School into a pre-k through 6th grade building. It’ll accommodate students now at Pattengill.

“We think shovels in the ground in the spring of 2017, which seems like a long ways away but its just a few months down the road so we're moving forward,” the Superintendent said.

She expects to have the building ready in the fall of 2018.

Some blue prints are still evolving, like the redesign of Pattengill into a brand new Eastern High School. Plans call for having the doors open to 7th through 12th graders by fall of 2019.

Other schools in the District will change in other ways with technology upgrades from stronger bandwidth to tablets, and increased building security.

“The access points into our schools, at our doors, we want to make sure that we are really clear about cards, you know, swipe cards into our buildings. I think at the high school level, we're looking at cameras in the offices to make sure who's coming in and out,” Superintendent Canul explained.

Also high on the list of priorities, making sure kids are comfortable in the classroom.

“Kids are the ones sitting in that furniture all day long - hopefully not sitting all day, but we really want their vote, so we're gonna put different sets of furniture on a bus and we're gonna drive it around the city and go to different schools and have kids tell us what they think,” the Superintendent explained.

She hopes to make everyone a part of the conversation.

“It's about establishing an educational vision of career and college readiness for our kids. That to me is the most exciting thing, the most important aspect of this bond,” Superintendent Canul says.

Chris Kaiser with the MSU College of Education says the changes and improvements will help the District become more competitive.

“It helps bring what we're doing to the level of other districts and that's good,” Kaiser explained. “We want students to realize that this endeavor is important, that we care about them. And any of those investments, be it paint on the wall or a new computer or a security system is gonna send that message.”

An investment the District says will pay off for its teachers, students and the entire Lansing community.

The bond project is expected to be completed by 2012. The Superintendent promises to keep the community updated throughout the process on the Lansing Pathway Promise website.