Cass City Schools to seek bids

Cass City Public Schools have begun to seek bids for bond work.

The school board voted Monday, Dec. 17, to send out a request for proposals for masonry, mechanical, electrical, aluminum framing and glazing, and new acoustical ceilings at the high school.

That request for bids has been made, but the full details of what the district wants won’t be available statewide until Jan. 3. At 3 p.m. Jan. 10, potential bidders will get to tour the school to get a look at what the school district has planned. At a special board meeting at 3 p.m. Jan. 22 the bids will be opened. And at the school board’s Jan. 28 regular session, the bids will be awarded.

The six days between when bids are opened and when they are awarded, Superintendent Jeff Hartel said, will allow school district officials to meet with the R&E Development Group, the Macomb County construction firm managing the project, and review the bids.

Money for the work will come out of the bond issue school district voters passed in May. The bond projects will be done in three phases. The first phase includes heating at the high school and redoing entryways for security purposes – “adding another layer of security,” Hartel said.

It will include changing from a circa-1967 radiant heat system because, Hartel said, the pipes have started to leak and bust through ceilings. The plan is to tear the radiant heat system out, put in new ceilings and add a forced-air heating and cooling system.

“That will be nice for the kids to come back to in the heat of August,” Hartel said.

The work will start at nights in May and June, Hartel said, “but as soon as the kids are out in June they are going to be here as long as they have to. They assured us by the time we get back to school in August we’ll be ready to go.”

The upcoming phases will include new boilers at the elementary school  – “those boilers down there are about at the end of their useful life,” Hartel said – air conditioning there, some technology improvements and  possibly a bus or two. “It all depends on how these numbers come in the first phase,” Hartel said.

“This is stuff nobody thinks about until it is not working. There are no pretty fieldhouses or any of that stuff. We are just going for things we need to do to keep our buildings safe, functional, cool in the summer and warm in the winter.”

Air conditioning was never considered when the schools were built, but Hartel said he’s noticed the heat has been showing up earlier in the spring and staying later into the fall. These changes, he said, will improve conditions for students and staff.

“It’s a no brainer,” he said. “You want students comfortable if you want student achievement. You can’t have them sweating and being uncomfortable all day or you won’t get any learning done.”

The school board also:

• Received an update from Shari Bock, food service director, on her department. The board gets updates from a different department each month. She told the board that free and reduced-cost lunches have dropped to 52 percent and detailed how the program is working on collecting overdue fines and debts.

“That (free and reduced-cost lunches) is much lower than we’ve been,” Hartel said. “There for a while we were up there at 60 and 70 percent. I don’t know what it all means, but our numbers have been dropping.”

• Learned from the board’s student council representative that Snowcoming will be in February and the upcoming competitions the band will be in.

Mark Haney is a staff writer for The Advertiser and can be reached at haney@tcadvertiser.com.

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