Millage approved, Adams Township Schools optimistic

Kali Katerberg/Daily Mining Gazette The leaking old gym roof at Jeffers High School will soon see renovations, circumventing the problem by building a new third-floor addition.

PAINESDALE — Adams Township heard the first school improvement update after the proposed bond extension passed with flying colors on the August ballot.

“I’d just like to thank the community for supporting this project,” said Superintendent Tim Keteri. “…I think the community will be very pleased when we finish this project and (with) what the school will look like.”

Project Manager Tim Seppanen was impressed by the 70 percent millage approval rate, which showed high support.

“70 percent is an incredible approval rate for any millage here in Michigan,” he said.

The upgrade will include three major projects. An addition to the third floor built over the old gym roof which will serve as a new cafeteria and two new secure entries for the elementary and high school, which include restructured offices for both principals.

Smaller renovations will be taking place at both schools as well. Including, classroom upgrades, entrance masonry repairs, pool restoration and flooring upgrades.

Seppanen will remain a part of the project as it goes on and bring monthly updates to the board on the work, which he kicked off Wednesday.

“I’ll be at every board meeting probably for the next 18th months. I’ll be here through the design phase and of course, during construction,” he explained.

At the moment, U.P. Engineers & Architects, Inc. have already held three preliminary design meetings and have started into the design phase.

Seppanen hopes to have the design documents completed by February, with 50 percent ready by the holidays to present at the meeting. The timeline would set the school up to put out bids in the first week of March, have contracts signed by the end of March and be ready to hit the ground running once school lets out for the summer.

A few smaller renovations like exterior and foundation work could even start while classes were still in session.

“What’s really important is that deadline, we want to be one of the first packages out for bids. Everyone’s hungry for that initial project. We’ve got to lock them in for the rest of the year,” Seppanen explained.

With the community support and a five percent enrollment increase seen this year, Keteri thinks the district is on the right track.

“That’s just an amazing thing for this little school up in the hills. I believe we’re doing a wonderful job and I think the word is getting out,” he said.