At the Mason Public Schools Board of Education meeting on August 27, the Board approved bids for 13 construction contractors to begin work on the Harvey Education Center, which is part of Phase 1 of the Capital Improvement Project.
The total bid award was $9.2M. The contractors selected were Anderson, Fischer & Associates, Inc. for site work, Fessler & Bowman for concrete, Davenport Masonry, Inc. for masonry, Howard Structural Steel, Inc. for structural and miscellaneous steel, Quality Roofing, Inc. for roofing, William Reichenbach Co. for metal studs, drywall, ceilings and flooring, E&L Construction Group, LLC for general trades, Architectural Systems Group, LLC for casework, Traverse City Glass Company for glazing, Total Fire Protection for fire suppression, Professional Thermal Systems, Inc. for mechanical and United Electrical Contractors, Inc. for electrical.
Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said, “Mason Public Schools is eager to begin the much-needed work on our buildings over the next few years. The Harvey Education Center is the first building to begin undergoing renovation and we are confident in the contractors who have been identified through the bid process. It is important for Mason Public Schools to continue to be good financial stewards of community resources by selecting qualified contractors to do this work.”
This summer, the district has completed the back-end upgrades to our wired and wireless infrastructure. This included replacing each switch, running new fiber for faster connections to each network closet, and a near three-fold expansion of our wireless access points. Wireless Internet access points were increased from 112 to 370. Staff and students will notice a far faster wired and wireless experience throughout the district.
Along with the performance improvements, system-wide management becomes far easier. Each network connection is now labeled and marked. Automated reports of potential service issues are sent to district IT staff in near real time.
MASON, MI – More than 200 Mason residents gathered at the James C. Harvey Education Center on Wednesday evening to break ground on the first major project resulting from the successful passage of the $69.7 million bond proposal – the largest in District history.
“This is a game changer for Mason Public Schools,” said Superintendent Ron Drzewicki in his opening remarks. “We’re here to celebrate how this project, and all the projects to come as a result of this bond proposal, will help us build a strong, smarter, safer Mason Public Schools.”
School Board President Kurt Creamer proudly shared a variety of District accomplishments. For the past four years, Mason’s school rankings have steadily improved. Based on the Michigan School Index System, all three of Mason’s elementary schools rank in the top 9% statewide. Out of 42 elementary schools in Ingham County, all three Mason schools are in the top 10: Steele Elementary is #4, Alaiedon Elementary is #8 and North Aurelius Elementary is #9.
Test scores for Mason Public Schools have also drastically improved. In 2014, Mason students’ MSTEP and SAT scores showed that only 17% of tested grades and subjects were scoring in the top third of Ingham County scores. This year’s MSTEP scores show that 73% of Mason’s tested grades and subjects are in the top third in the county. SAT scores for 2018 have yet to be released, but the District’s hard work to improve student learning has leadership optimistic about strong performance.
The District’s fiscal position has also improved under current leadership, most strongly reflected by the increase in the Fund Balance – more commonly referred to as the “rainy day fund,” explained Creamer. “Back in 2015, we had a Fund Balance of 5.1% – not a good enough number to operate on. Fast forward just three years and we’re at 15.3%. We’ve almost tripled our rainy day fund, and we are now number one in the county for Fund Balance.”
The $69.7 million raised by the bond means Mason Public Schools will be able to continue along its positive trajectory. This includes making the spaces in the schools better suited for teaching and learning, updating technology infrastructure to maximize connectivity and access, and securing the schools for the safety of students and staff. Projects began in 2018 and will continue through 2026.
The groundbreaking event was free and open to the entire Mason community. Many local sponsors generously supported this event, including A&W, Jasen Filipiak, Mason Optimist Club, Mason Rail Time Adventures and Sheridan Realty & Auction Co. The family-focused event featured bounce houses, a fun house, carnival rides, food and more.
MASON, MI – The first major project funded by the Mason Public Schools’ $69.7 million bond is underway, and the entire Mason community is invited to celebrate. Groundbreaking for the Harvey Education Center will be held on August 29, 2018 beginning at 5 pm, with the formal groundbreaking ceremony taking place at 5:30 pm.
“Mason is a wonderful community with a strong tradition of academic excellence,” says Ron Drzewicki, Superintendent of Mason Public Schools. “Thanks to the community’s support of this bond, we will continue that tradition and build a stronger, smarter, safer school district, beginning with the Harvey Education Center.”
The Harvey Education Center groundbreaking event marks the beginning of an exciting new era for Mason Public Schools. It is the first major project resulting from the successful passage of the $69.7 million bond proposal – the largest in District history. New additions will create an age-appropriate learning environment for Mason’s pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. Renovations will include critical upgrades to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems in the building.
The groundbreaking event is free and open to the entire Mason community. Many local sponsors are generously supporting this event, including A&W, Jasen Filipiak, Mason Optimist Club, Mason Rail Time Adventures and Sheridan Realty & Auction Co. To celebrate the momentous occasion, the event will feature bounce houses, a fun house, carnival rides, delicious food and more. The Harvey Education Center is located at 400 S. Cedar Street, Mason, MI 48854.
The November 2017 bond proposal provides funds for facilities improvements, technology upgrades and safety enhancements across the District. Each of these capital improvement projects is designed to improve the education provided by Mason Public Schools. This includes making the spaces in the schools better suited for teaching and learning, updating technology infrastructure to maximize connectivity and access, and securing the schools for the safety of students and staff. Projects began in 2018 and will continue through 2026.
The final design of the Harvey Education Center has been released. The next step of bidding the renovation is currently underway. 40 bids were submitted and the bid awards will take place later this month at a Special Board of Education meeting.
This week, Mason Public Schools received 5 new buses that were purchased using dollars from Phase 1 of the Capital Improvement Project. These buses are International gasoline buses. Each of these new buses will have a new camera installed before they begin their routes. The district is currently working on the routing plans and bus assignments. Students should check their bus cards when they receive it in the mail to see which bus and route they will be on before school begins.
Mason Public Schools (MPS) and the City of Mason have demonstrated true regional cooperation by entering into a partnership to share resources and office space. MPS has recently moved its administrative staff into offices within Mason City Hall on 201 West Ash Street. This partnership is unique to the mid-Michigan area. City and school district administration are excited about the opportunities and possibilities this arrangement will create.
City Hall was built for more employees than the City anticipates having in the next 10-15 years. Better utilization of City Hall will maximize space and reduce overhead cost, while ensuring more tax dollars serve the residents of Mason and the students of Mason Public Schools. Collaborating with joint office space demonstrates a commitment from both parties to use tax payer dollars efficiently and create a positive environment in Mason. Both organizations are now able to share resources including conference rooms, parking lots, utilities, etc. Parents and community members will have easy access to school administration and city services with both organizations located under one roof.
The partnership makes fiscal and operational sense for both organizations. By relocating MPS administration, it allows for renovations and new construction to begin at the Harvey Education Center (HEC). Additionally, it will allow the HEC to better serve Mason students as an early childhood and kindergarten building when construction is complete.
“After passing the bond last fall, the Board of Education decided it made sense to move the administrative offices out of the Harvey Education Center to make room for additional programming for Mason’s youngest students. Mason City Manager, Deb Stuart and Mason City Council worked hard to come up with a plan to make this collaboration work for both organizations. The City of Mason staff has been a great partner to us and we look forward to finding other ways to maximize our resources,” said Ronald Drzewicki, Ed.S., Superintendent, Mason Public Schools.
The City of Mason and MPS agreed to a 10-year lease for MPS to be located within City Hall.
The Harvey Education Center design is now in the final stages. The HEC design team will be pulled together for one last meeting to provide input on finishes. The committee will look at product types such as rubber, vinyl, linoleum, etc. as options for a resilient surface in the classrooms. We will also look at color selections for wall and trim paint, carpet options, rubber base colors and laminate colors. The schedule is to have bid documents out by July 6th and due to the district on August 1st. Ground breaking is scheduled for mid to late August.
The district is carefully reviewing classroom AV equipment for future installation. As a district, we want to match the new classroom technology to our instructional goals and objectives. We plan for the HEC, high school and middle school classrooms to be upgraded in the summer of 2019. North Aurelius and Alaiedon in the summer of 2020 and Steele in Phase 2.
Over the summer, technology improvements ($770,000+) will include replacing switch infrastructure in each building which is currently up to 14 years old. Wireless connectivity will be significantly improved across the district. Backup batteries will be installed in each building to provide at least one hour of power to phones in case of a power outage. In addition, the computer labs at the elementary schools and middle schools will be re-purposed, the business classes at the high school will be upgraded, and some PA systems will be improved.