November 8, 2016 Bond Issue Information
Fruitport Community Schools is planning for the future!
As a result of much time, energy, and dedication to the future growth of our district, the Facilities Committee has come up with a long-term Master Plan for the district.
A rendering of what Fruitport High School could look like per the November 8, 2016 bond proposal election.
Fruitport Community Schools Facilities Master Plan
Since November 2013 a Facilities Committee of interested parents, community members, and staff have studied district facilities, visited new construction in other school districts, and explored the most fiscally responsible way to maintain/improve district facilities. Part of this process was the development of a Facilities Assessment which identified facility needs through 2028. The Facilities Committee took all of this information and developed a Facilities Master Plan that best addressed district facility needs while reflecting community sentiment.
II. Facilities Master Plan Main Considerations
The Facilities Committee created the Facilities Master Plan using the following information and considerations.
1. Age of the Buildings
The district has 5 buildings along with 7 portable classrooms. The oldest building is Beach Elementary with the oldest part built in the late 1930’s. Fruitport Middle School is the youngest building having been constructed in the late 1960’s. While the upkeep for these buildings has been excellent, it is no different than the upkeep on a home…the older the buildings get, the more upkeep they require and the more expensive this upkeep gets. At some point, building upkeep will become so expensive that school funds may have to be diverted from teaching children to building maintenance and repair unless the community votes to give the district a bond issue to be used for this purpose.
2. Major Building Concerns Due to Age
What follows are main facility concerns for the next 10-15 years that will need to be addressed per the Facilities Assessment:
- Buried and corroding underground plumbing piping.
- Boilers and associated pumps and heating units well past their useful life.
- Sections of roof require replacement.
- Traffic and pedestrian routing require improvements for safe student movement.
- Replace the elevator at the middle school.
- Cost of repairs to the pool will be a major concern.
3. How Can the District Address Facility Needs and be Fiscally Responsible?
The Facilities Committee learned that replacing parts of a building while doing major renovations to the remainder of the building is a cost effective solution and will save the district significant money.
4. What the Facilities Committee Heard From the Community
- Keep the high school on the main campus in the village of Fruitport.
- Be fiscally responsible.
- The district needs a larger auditorium.
- Maintain safety and security.
- Improve traffic flows to buildings.
III. The Facilities Master Plan
1. Phase 1
Given their findings, the Facilities Committee realized that it was time to start replacing old buildings. They decided that the high school should be the first one in the plan because it is the flagship for the district and gets the most community use. But to be cost effective, it was decided to keep the 1998 additions to the high school and replace the older portions of the facility by building behind the current structure and connect this to the 1998 additions. This would give the community essentially a new high school for a little more than half the cost of a completely new building. Because we now have sewer available on the main campus, the new structure could be built on what used to be the main campus’ drain field.
The Facilities Committee has therefore recommended moving forward with a November 8, 2016, bond issue election for 3.9 mills for the high school project, school buses, and some prioritize facility assessment needs as can be afforded.
2. Phase 2
The next phase of the Facilities Master Plan would take place in 2028 when the bond debt would be restructured and a bond issue placed on the ballot for a minimal millage increase to replace Edgewood Elementary with a new building constructed between the current Edgewood Elementary location and the high school.
3. Phase 3 & Beyond
Every ten years after 2028, the district will restructure the bond debt and ask for a minimal millage increase to replace the remaining buildings accordingly. In this plan, it will take approximately a total of fifty years to replace all of the district buildings. At that point, the district will decide when to begin the next building replacement cycle should it be necessary.
IV. Highlights of the Facilities Master Plan
- The property between the Fruitport High School, Edgewood Elementary, and Fruitport Middle School contained our septic system and in the past could not be built on. Now that we have sewer, we can build on this property keeping replacement/major renovations of existing main campus schools on their current location and within the Fruitport community.
- With the exceptions of Muskegon and North Muskegon, every neighboring public school district has a new or renovated high school. Major renovations to Fruitport High School would help the district be a more attractive destination for families moving to the Muskegon area and will play a positive part in the economic development of the Fruitport area.
- A common community complaint concerns the size of the district’s auditorium in that it is too small. Major renovations to Fruitport High School would provide an auditorium large enough to address that issue.
- Traffic flow at nearly all of our district facilities has been a community concern. The Facilities Master Plan will address traffic flow for every building over time.
- The Tech/Security millage approved by voters in 2014 will be used to improve lobby security for each of our school buildings. Beyond that, major renovations or complete replacement of buildings would incorporate modern architecture designed to improve overall safety and security.
- The owner of a house with a State Equalized Value of $50,000 or a market value of approximately $100,000 would pay an additional $16.25/month for 3.9 mills or $195/year. Currently, the district levies 3 mills which cost this taxpayer $150/year or $12.50/month. Adding a 3.9 mill bond issue puts the total millage levy at 6.9 mills and would cost this homeowner $350/year or $29.17/month.
It is important to note that currently, Fruitport has the lowest bond debt levy of any school district in west Michigan. Raising the millage rate to 6.9 mills still has the district below nearly all districts in west Michigan as the chart below shows.
The millage rate and cost to homeowners per above is calculated as a maximum to homeowners. It is anticipated that through the current pace of residential development and the anticipation of significantly more commercial development in the coming years, the overall taxable value of the Fruitport Community Schools district will increase and in turn decrease the millage needed to pay existing bond debt or speed up the Facilities Master Plan and replace district buildings sooner.