Projects ready when snow melts

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton-Portage Township Schools Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil discusses the district's bond projects at Monday's School Board meeting.

HOUGHTON — Houghton-Portage Township Schools’ $10.895 million bond project is progressing on schedule, Superintendent Doreen Klingbeil said at Monday’s School Board meeting.

The district has had two meetings with U.P. Engineers & Architects (UPEA) to discuss the new road being built to connect Houghton Elementary School with Sharon Avenue.

The new road, which will include a turnaround, is being built to alleviate traffic congestion in the parking lot, which only exits onto Bridge Street.

Groundbreaking on that project is set to begin after school gets out in June.

The district has also met with IBI to discuss work on the facility and the athletic area. That work will also begin once school is out.

“Because some of those areas are going to infringe on the building on the outside and the parking lot, we’re not going to start some of that until school gets out,” Klingbeil said.

Some of the athletic work, such as the football field and the bleachers, could start sooner, depending on when the snow melts, Klingbeil said.

The construction should be able to work around groups using school buildings in the summer, Klingbeil said.

Klingbeil was unsure if the construction would wait until the end of the season for track, which practices at the site.

Board member Nels Christopherson who was at the meeting with UPEA, said they made adjustments to accommodate board member Bob Wheeler’s concerns about the proximity of the road to the John Wheeler Nature Trail at the elementary school.

Despite Christopherson’s mechanical engineering background, he hadn’t realized how much goes into the construction of a road.

Calculations included looking at the pond where snow will be plowed along the road, and determining how fast the water will go out, depending on the width of the drainage pipe.

“It was kind of an education, but it’s comforting, too, because they know what they’re doing,” he said.