New Building, Flexible Furniture Part of 2020 Ferndale School Bond Plans
Ferndale, MI- Voters in the Ferndale School District will see a bond proposal on the March 10,2020 ballot that continues the same bond rate currently while securing $125 million in financing to update, and even rebuild, facilities. The aim is to “Move Ferndale Forward,” with a focus on larger, more flexible work environments. The District held an info night at the high school/ middle school on Nov. 6 so members of the community could see the vision for themselves.
The tour included a chance to sit in a current classroom, with rows of desks wall to wall and the teachers desk in front and former “technology cabinets” that used to house VCRs and projectors now being used for the teacher’s closet. If passed, rooms in the high school and middle school would be expanded, and the desks would be replaced with ‘flexible furniture” that allows for multiple configurations while taking up less space.
“If you think about kids 100 years ago, kids today are much different. These days kids are using computers, playing online games, learning in different ways,” said Superintendent Dania Bazzi. “But our classrooms still look much the same as they did 100 years ago. Kids in rows at desks… But we know that students learn and interact in a variety of ways…We want classrooms that make that happen.”
Other uses for the bond monies would be replacing the roof and other exterior features of the high school/middle school, improvements to the HVAC system, boilers and plumbing, and security updates. They also plan to remove on of the high school’s swimming pools and use the space for a weight room instead.
Perhaps the largest investment will be in moving the CASA program to the Roosevelt School building and using the CASA property to build a new Lower Elementary Building. The new construction would allow for larger classrooms with a restroom for each classroom.
The district’s website explains their vision. “Our elementary schools just received recognition for applying our Whole Child philosophy to support our students with community partnerships, family-involvement, and a supportive school culture. However, our educators are limited by century-old facilities, aging infrastructure, and limited space. To build on this momentum and more fully-integrate our forward-thinking education philosophy, we are proposing a new Lower Elementary facility with adaptable learning environments, exceptional energy and security integration, and room to accommodate the newly-established growth trends we are experiencing.”
The plan for the bond money is a ten year plan, so not all of the goals would be implemented right away. The bond is an extension of the bond rate approved by voters in 2015. A timeline and more specifics for each building, as well as more info on the bond itself, are available online at www.ferndaleforward.com.