While it is evident that construction has already started at the Kelloggsville High School, school officials and board members made it official with a ground breaking ceremony at the school on Monday, April 25.
About 80 people came out on the bright sunny afternoon to celebrate the start of the construction at the building located at 23 Jean St. SW. School officials again thanked the voters and those involved in getting the $33.9 million bond issue approved in February 2015. The bond issue passed with a two-to-one margin, 334 to 126.
“We are excited to make the high school the center of the district, the way it should be,” said Kelloggsville Superintendent Samuel Wright.
“I can only imagine the impact that it will have on the community with all the kids going through this building,” said Frank Stank, president and CEO of Owen-Ames-Kimbell, which has been working with Kelloggsville Public Schools and the community on the project.
The bulk of the bond proposal, according to Wright, has been dedicated to the high school with major changes planned for the building that originally was constructed in the 1920s. There have been several additions to the structure over the years including a remodel of the school’s cafeteria from a 1998 bond issue. The last major construction project for the district was the Kelloggsville Middle School in 1994.
The remainder of the bond money will be used for upgrades, including security cameras, at the district’s other facilities.
Among the changes for the high school includes a revamping of the front of the building which will move the entrance of the school from Jean Street to Division Avenue and allow students to exit with the light at 48th Street and Division Avenue. The new entrance will allow for added security in the building as visitors will only need to enter the front of the building to access the school’s gymnasium, media center and the public areas, said Jim Ward, a resident and media specialist who has been working with the district.
The school also will have a new competition gym which will be able to host varsity games (currently the games are at the middle school), an indoor track facility, and state-of-the-art media center. Kelloggsville Director of Curriculum Tammy Savage said the goal is to have all of these facilities open to the public which includes the library being open possibly two nights a week.
The rest of the high school project includes renovations and additions of classrooms, the auditorium receiving theater-style seating for 480, technology upgrades, and security and safety improvements including the addition of security cameras and card access along with a new fire alarm system. The entire project is expected to take about two years with completion scheduled for 2017.
“We’ll meet back here in the fall of 2017,” said Kelloggsville School Board President Tim Pomorski in his closing remarks. He adding it will be for the ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Kelloggsville High School.
Kelloggsville was formed in 1859. It is about four-and-half square miles and straddles the cities of Kentwood and Wyoming.