Jackson schools begin year of upgrades after bond passage


JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — School bells will ring across Jackson County on Wednesday when kids return to class from summer break.


And in Jackson Public Schools students will start the new school year as the schools are reshaped by a bond.


6 News spoke with the district’s superintendent about what changes are happening this year.

In May, voters approved an $86.7 million bond to overhaul Jackson Public Schools.


Officials are now putting those tax dollars to work.  


“There are great things happening and it is happening very quickly,” said Superintendent Jeff Beal.


Plans are already falling into place.


Students from Cascades Elementary School will start the school year at neighboring Frost Elementary School, so Cascades can be demolished later this year.


A new combined school will be built on that site.


When it opens in 2020, Frost will then come down.


“We’re doing a lot of recycling. Everything from door fixtures to ceiling tiles that can be salvaged, saved and reused,” Beal said.


Also this year, a new secure entrance and front office will be built at Northeast Elementary School, along with accommodations for students coming from Bennett Elementary School, which is closing at the end of the school year.


“Kind of retrofit it. We need to make it suitable for a lower elementary and an upper elementary,” Beal said.


You can also expect to see a new secure entrance at the high school and a new swimming pool.


An effort will begin to upgrade the district’s classrooms with new technology and furniture will also begin this year.  


Beal says this is only the first phase and more upgrades, including reopening Lincoln Elementary School, are planned through the 2022 school year.


In the meantime, they’re working hard to make sure construction doesn’t interrupt education.


“There is a lot of enthusiasm. I would say we’re supremely grateful for all of the support of the Jackson Public Schools district. We’re going to deliver on the promise that we went out and spoke with the people about. So I think we’re going to build a district that everyone can be proud of,” Beal said.


The district says it will be posting updates on all these changes on their website and social media for the community to stay updated on the progress.

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