Students, school officials and project partners gathered Friday afternoon to celebrate the completion of an 8,600 square foot gymnasium and kitchen building expansion at Meadowlawn Elementary School. The construction project marks a major milestone in the district’s $64.8 million bond program, passed by voters in 2015.
Tucked into a quiet neighborhood off Eastern Avenue, Meadowlawn is one of ten elementary schools in the district, which also contains three middle schools, a freshman campus and a high school. This project was identified as an important need by the community and brings Meadowlawn’s square footage up to scale with the other nine elementaries. Alongside Explorer and Southwood, Meadowlawn Elementary was recently named a Reward School by the Michigan Department of Education.
“This expansion will foster academic excellence not only in the classroom, but also as students engage in more physical activity to promote healthy lifestyles. We are thankful for our community’s continued collaboration and support,” said Kentwood Superintendent, Michael Zoerhoff.
Behind the scenes, the construction project came with a unique set of challenges. Built in 1954, Meadowlawn is one of the oldest facilities in the district. Working around the operating and occupied school, construction crews had to move an 18-inch municipal sanitary sewer and strategically avoid existing fiber cable lines to make way for the addition.
With a water table just 9 feet below ground, the team used dewatering methods while excavating for the new sanitary manholes. The project also features an underground storm water retention system below the new parking lot.
“The process of discovering and addressing these unique challenges make the completion of this project that much more rewarding,” said Rocky Oster, Project Superintendent from O-A-K. Oster has a personal connection to the project. His father attended Meadowlawn several years ago. When construction began last year, he welcomed his parents on a tour of the facility.
Construction funded by the $64.8 million bond is nearing at the mid-way point. After the bond passed in November 2015, construction projects began in 2016 and will be ongoing for the next several years.
Scope completed to date includes:
- Transformations of existing media centers/classrooms into collaboration centers at Bowen Elementary, Brookwood Elementary, Southwood Elementary, Townline Elementary and the freshman center
- Gymnasium and kitchen addition at Meadowlawn Elementary School
- New high school safe and secure athletic entrance and cafeteria
- Replacement of existing tennis courts into 12 post-tension concrete tennis courts
- New high school parking lot
- Purchase of 5000+ computers for the students and classrooms
- Purchase of furniture, energy efficient doors/windows and flooring upgrades for the classrooms
- Security cameras at all Elementary schools, additional cameras at Secondary schools.
- 18 New buses purchased
- Over $750,000 worth of Fine Arts equipment and instrument purchases
The following projects are currently under construction:
- Transformations of existing media centers into collaboration centers at Challenger Elementary, Explorer Elementary, Glenwood Elementary
- Classroom renovations and collaboration center transformation at Valleywood Middle School
Finally, projects scheduled to begin in 2018 include:
- Classroom additions at Discovery Elementary
- Site improvements at the high school
- Addition of a Community Collaboration Center at the Administration Building
The process of discovering and addressing these unique challenges make the completion of this project that much more rewarding.