Marshall Public Schools moves forward with $90M bond proposal

Students Sam Alexandrian, Tayden Neeley, Carmello Hall and Javion Hancock eat lunch together at Marshall Middle School on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020 in Marshall, Mich. In recognition of a variety of facility needs, the Marshall Public Schools Board of Education is moving forward with a $90 million bond proposal for the district.
Students Sam Alexandrian, Tayden Neeley, Carmello Hall and Javion Hancock eat lunch together at Marshall Middle School on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020 in Marshall, Mich. In recognition of a variety of facility needs, the Marshall Public Schools Board of Education is moving forward with a $90 million bond proposal for the district.

MARSHALL — Following the completion of the district-wide facility needs assessment, the Marshall Public Schools Board of Education is moving forward with a $90 million bond proposal for the district.

The proposal, slated for the May 7 ballot, includes district-wide technology and equipment improvements, a new elementary building in Albion, athletic facility improvements at Marshall High School and infrastructure improvements at all school buildings.

"(This is) beneficial for all of our kids," Marshall Superintendent Rebecca Jones said. "There is something for almost every program that the district has to offer (in this bond)."

Back to the drawing board

Marshall last asked voters to consider a bond in November 2021, with voters ultimately rejecting the $45.5 million package by a 2-1 margin in the election.

It marked the first bond put before voters since Marshall completed its annexation of the Albion School District in 2016. It was also the first time district staff had to communicate the details of a bond during a global pandemic, a time when gatherings were limited and community forums often shifted online.

The district has since hosted a number of community input sessions to learn what residents would like to see in a a future proposal. An updated facilities assessment has identified nearly $150 million in needs for the district.

"We have done a lot of listening sessions and gathered a lot of surveys from our community on input on why the last bond failed," Jones said. "So, we went back into planning and communicating and we have come out with a bond that addresses more needs than the one that was previously put out."

So, what's included in the new bond proposal?

A new K-5 elementary building on the Opportunity High School campus in Albion is among a variety of improvements included in a new, $90 million bond proposal developed by Marshall Public Schools.
A new K-5 elementary building on the Opportunity High School campus in Albion is among a variety of improvements included in a new, $90 million bond proposal developed by Marshall Public Schools.

One of the most significant needs identified by the district is for a new elementary school in Albion.

The most recent district facility assessment found that, in its current condition, Harrington Elementary has roughly $21 million in facility needs. With this in mind, the district is proposing the construction of a new K-5 elementary building on the Opportunity High School campus in Albion, a $23.8 million cost.

The bond will also cover the cost of a variety of infrastructure improvements, including a four-classroom addition at Gordon Elementary, the addition of a secure vestibule at Hughes Elementary as well as air conditioning at all unconditioned spaces inside Gordon and Marshall Middle School.

Proposed upgrades to the Marshall High School athletic complex are shown.
Proposed upgrades to the Marshall High School athletic complex are shown.

The athletic complex at Marshall High School also would get a significant upgrade through the proposed bond. Among the proposed improvements are a new auxiliary gym with three courts and an elevated walking track, a weight room and wrestling room addition, new football/soccer fields and stadium buildings and new baseball/softball fields and stadium buildings.

The construction of an FFA barn at the high school is also included in the bond proposal. Marshall currently has more than 150 students enrolled in its FFA program, as well as the largest alumni chapter of the FFA in Michigan.

District-wide improvements would include instructional technology upgrades, security camera replacements, piano and musical instrument replacements and stage/performance equipment upgrades.

What's the financial impact?

Marshall taxpayers would see a 1-mill increase under this bond proposal. The owner of a $200,000 home — $100,00 taxable value — would pay $8.33 more per month under the proposal. Marshall Public Schools currently levies 6 mills for school bond debt.

Currently, property owners in Albion are not paying a millage to support Marshall Public Schools. Under the proposed bond, former taxpayers of the Albion School District would see a 4.95-mill increase, with the owner of a $200,000 home paying $41.25 more per month.

A building-by-building breakdown of the proposed bond improvements is as follows:

Gordon Elementary

  • Four-classroom addition

  • Air conditioning

  • Energy efficiency upgrades

  • Infrastructure improvements

Hughes Elementary

  • 40% roof replacement

  • Administration and secure vestibule addition

  • Infrastructure improvements

Walters Elementary

  • Infrastructure improvements

  • Energy Efficiency upgrades

New K-5 Elementary in Albion

  • New driveways, parking lots and drop-off loops

  • New playgrounds

  • Physical education playfields

  • Secure vestibule adjacent to administrative offices

  • General education classrooms for Young 5's - 5th Grade

  • Special education and support services classrooms and offices

  • Music classroom with storage

  • Art classroom with storage

  • Media Center and media support spaces

  • Gymnasium for physical education and after hours use

  • Cafeteria and kitchen

  • Performance stage

  • Extended learning areas

Marshall Middle School

  • Air conditioning

  • Energy efficiency upgrades

  • Infrastructure upgrades

  • Outdoor track

  • Partial roof replacement

Opportunity High School

  • Infrastructure upgrades

  • Parking lot repaving

  • Partial roof replacement

  • Flooring, ceiling, door, casework and code updates

Marshall High School

  • Parking lot repaving

  • Infrastructure improvements

  • New baseball/softball complex

  • New football/track complex and soccer stadium

  • Three court auxiliary gym with elevated walking track

  • New weight room

  • New wrestling room

  • Mechanical upgrades to pool

  • New FFA barn

District-wide initiatives

  • Security camera upgrades

  • Technology infrastructure upgrades

  • Fire alarm upgrades

  • Auditorium and stage updates

  • Middle School and High School band, orchestra and choir equipment/instruments

Contact reporter Greyson Steele at gsteele@battlecreekenquirer.com

This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: Marshall Public Schools moves forward with $90M bond proposal