When Utica Community Schools students returned to school this fall they encountered approximately $16 million in bond-funded improvements taking place this summer.
Students at Jeannette Junior High School in Sterling Heights are excited about how their learning will be supported by a new, modern media center.
“I was amazed with the change,” seventh-grader Jules Sitto said. “I think this is just such a wonderful environment to be in now.”
Jeannette’s media center is among several projects at the school funded by a $155 million bond issue approved in 2018. Projects also include mechanical updates, a secure entryway, and landscaping – similar to sites across the district.
Nonetheless, it is the media center that is getting the most attention from students with its modern appearance, areas for group collaboration, areas for silent reading or studies, and natural lighting.
“The room kind of gives me a good feeling and energy,” ninth-grader Karlo Shamoon said. “It is a perfect environment where you could do multiple things. I could just sit here and read.”
The improvements at Jeannette come during the third summer of facility improvements funded by the 2018 bond issue.
“The investment our community is making in its schools has a direct impact on our learning environment,” Superintendent Robert Monroe said. “This investment is making a difference by funding improvements through the bond issue’s focus areas: enhancing safety, improving technology, and addressing the long-range facility needs of Michigan’s second-largest school district.”
Other districtwide projects this summer include:
• New secure entryways at six district schools that require all visitors to directly enter through the school office area. Currently, all UCS school entrances are locked with a camera-entry system. Visitors must identify themselves to school office personnel prior to entry.
• Infrastructure improvements as identified in the district’s long-range improvement program, including parking lots, roofs, and heating and cooling system upgrades at sites across the district.
• Replacement of 11 school buses.
For Jeannette students, all of the building changes have helped to bring more energy to their day, district officials said in a release.
“It gives you a nice feeling to see a clean environment,” eighth-grader Raine Thomas said. “It helps you with your day.”
Jeannette Principal Antoinette Hamilton said the improvements have also helped the school transition back to full, in-person learning this year.
“Since the learning environment is so important to the success of our students and our staff, it felt great to be able to welcome them back with an encouraging in-person atmosphere that is conducive to academic success,” Hamilton said.