2018-08-09 / News

Sinking fund brings good news

By Tanya Terry
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — The sinking fund for Kearsley Community Schools is providing more than just a large construction project at Kearsley High School. A construction project is also expected to be completed by the start of the upcoming school year at Dowdall Elementary School.

“The construction to Dowdall started shortly after school ended, during the end of June and beginning part of July,” said Paul Gaudard, assistant superintendent for Kearsley Community Schools.

“The handicap ramp area was crumbling,” Gaudard said. “It was becoming a situation where it could potentially be a safety hazard.”

The construction needed to be done in an area near students.

“Our playground is right there,” Gaudard said. “Because they are handicap ramps, we have to make sure they’re in good working order. There was a handicap ramp there, but we’re completely replacing it.”

There are two handicap ramps being constructed in the back of the school building.

“All our buildings have to be handicap accessible,” Gaudard said. “It’s important that we comply with all the accessibility requirements that we have. So, that was number one. Number two was because of the condition of the previous ones, it had to be addressed, not only for the safety of the people using the ramps, but for everybody around there. It was a necessity for sure.”

Steps for get the project done included digging a trench to get out the existing foundation and putting concrete forms down and pouring new foundation. This was done by DCC Construction.

Gaudard said the worst-case scenario would have been a kid picking up a big piece of concrete, but he didn’t want to speculate. The project had to be done while school was out because there was a huge, visible hole in the area. Dowdall Elementary School houses about 450 students in second and third grade.

Kearsley Community Schools is fortunate enough to have a sinking fund.

“When you have several buildings throughout the district, you always have to make sure you upgrade things and try to make them safer for all your students,” Gaudard said. “Just like with the front entrance construction at the high school, we have to make sure we’re on top of things.”

The high school front entrance construction and elementary school ramp area construction were part of the same bid, which DCC Construction got. So, both projects are intentionally being done together. The sinking fund is an annual fund designed specifically for building improvements. There are several restrictions on what the funds can be used for. For example, the improvements must be permanent.

“One year we were looking at whether lockers were able to be used as part of a sinking fund,” Gaudard said. “Sometimes you have to get an interpretation from the state of Michigan. The sinking fund has been a huge piece. We have been able to make several upgrades throughout the district. With some aging buildings, it’s been really nice.”

Taxpayers in the district will vote on whether to renew the sinking fund in November.

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