WORK IS AGAIN underway on the Owosso Public Schools’ extensive bond project, which was made possible when voters approved the school system’s $45 million bond proposal in November 2017. After a months-long delay due to the COVID-19 health crisis, work crews are back to work. The project includes renovations and an expansion of Owosso High School in order to accommodate Owosso’s middle school students and improve the school’s career and technical education capacity, extensive infrastructure improvements and upgrades and the addition of a performing arts center.
The construction projects at Owosso’s 6th- through 12th-grade campus were moving along ahead of schedule for the 2019-2020 school year due to a mild winter and the outstanding group of contractors working on the project. Then the COVID-19 pandemic forced all projects to a halt with the governor’s “Stay Home. Stay Safe.” order. Before COVID-19, the project was on target for the incoming 6th-graders to begin the school year in the newly renovated campus. Now, sadly, this will not be the reality, as the project is behind schedule. The incoming 6th- through 8th-graders will begin and conclude the 2020-2021 school year in the Owosso Middle School building on Water Street.
Clark Construction resumed work on Owosso’s campus as of Thursday, May 7. Projects that they are working on currently include the new performing arts center, a fine arts classroom and a connecting corridor; a new student union; middle school offices; cafeteria renovations; a new female locker room; restroom renovations; a new fitness center; a new school store; a new robotics room; all new doors, lighting and lockers; a new sound system and new technology; additional safety and security measures; renovations to all classrooms; the installation of all new lockers; paint; new classroom doors; all new lighting; and new furniture.
“It is thrilling to see the projects underway again,” shared Superintendent Dr. Andrea Tuttle. “We were on a roll before COVID-19, and I’m confident that the Clark Construction crews have resumed with determination and professionalism to complete the project. At this point, I am hesitant to give a definite date of completion on the project.”
Dr. Tuttle also provided an update on Sinking Fund projects that are now underway. The roadwork to connect the new middle school parking lot at the 6th- through 12th-grade campus to Blue & Gold Blvd. for improved traffic flow is the first project of the summer. The projects listed below will be completed over the summer:
• Owosso High School: new roofing on existing portions of the building, seal cracks, seal coat and re-stripe existing high school parking lot, construct a dumpster enclosure, construct a salt storage building and enhance the lighting for existing light pole.
• Central Elementary School: seal cracks, seal coat and restripe existing parking lot, construct new 1,200 square feet of connecting sidewalk and install mulch in area.
• Emerson Elementary School: Storm drainage improvements inclusive of site investigation to correct sink holes on the property, construct new 1,400 square feet of connecting sidewalk and install mulch in area.
• Bus garage: spot remove asphalt and replace in 8 locations.
• Bentley Bright Beginnings: Install 600 square feet of sidewalk.
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)