Voters to Lansing schools — we’re in.
Voters to Lansing schools — we’re in. A bond issue forwarded to the voters in the Lansing School District was approved Tuesday with 2,831 voting in favor to 2,528 against. That means that the district can begin the work of actually commencing the construction of the project, the centerpiece of which is the construction of a completely new high school near the Rock Creek subdivision on a 154-acre swath of land off of DeSoto Road. The issue grew out of a long-term facility plan that was completed, with public input, in 2010 by Hollis and Miller Architects. Getting it passed, according to School Superintendent Randy Bagby, was the result of a multitude of volunteers to get the word out. “It’s always nice to see a lot of hard work by a lot of people pay off,” he said. Supporters pushed passage of the $73 million bond issue by highlighting the benefits of approving the project now — historically low construction costs and interest rates on the bonds used to pay for the work. They also argued that the project would benefit every student in the district. That includes the obvious benefits of a new high school facility for students, but also by improving safety for the new middle-school facility and giving middle- and elementary-age students more room. “This is something that I think the whole community can be proud of,” said Shelly Gowdy, former school board president and member of the bond committee. Some had critiqued the issue on the grounds that the project itself was too large, with the inclusion of athletic fields and a competition pool at the new high school not necessary. Some had also argued that a new school was not needed, to which supporters countered that all of the district’s facilities were currently over capacity. The foremost benefit to approving the bond now, according to Bagby, is that the district will lock in the 41 percent state aid for bond and interest payments on the principal and interest costs, which otherwise would close to double the cost of the project. Bagby said work has already started to secure financing for the bonds in an effort to lower the anticipated the mill levy impact on voters. And he said he would like to see the project getting underway as soon as possible. “I’d like to break ground in nine months rather than 12 months,” he said.