APS board discusses seeking bond, repair buildings

ALPENA — After reviewing its facilities study and determining several buildings throughout the district are in need of repairs, the Alpena Public Schools Board of Education’s Property Committee on Thursday discussed its options including seeking a bond.

Superintendent John VanWagoner said the facility study the district recently completed has been helpful but the outlined needs the study presented were far too extensive.

“It (the facility study) is great, but it identifies about $120 million worth of need in the district that I just don’t see at any point feasible to be going to our taxpayers to be looking at something even remotely close to that as far as support of a bond,” he said.

VanWagoner proposed going through each of the 12 buildings the district owns in the spring to determine the absolute necessities which need to be addressed. Besides building repairs, issues such as the district’s telephone system and building security were also raised during the conversation.

Following the spring site visits, VanWagoner said the next steps would be to start a conversation with the community in the fall and establishing committees to look at the community input and the facility study to determine the proper course of action.

The last time the district sought a bond was in 1996 in the sum of $26.995 million.

VanWagoner said the district needed to make sure newer buildings such as Thunder Bay Junior High remained up to standards; older buildings in the district received their required maintenance and determine the future of Sunset Elementary which is no longer in use.

Ideas for Sunset, including possible lease options with other entities, were also discussed by the committee.

The idea was to find the proper balance between the needs identified in the facility study, the absolute needs of the district and what the community would support.

“We’re beginning to have those conversations now,” he said. “I am convinced that we need to look at something but again what that is and what the taxpayers are willing to support, I think that is a conversation we have to have across our community here moving forward in the next six to 12 months.”

Tyler Winowiecki can be reached via email at twinowiecki@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Tyler on Twitter tw_alpenanews.