Shared resources, reduced costs a benefit to all
MASON, MI – The City of Mason has proposed an exciting opportunity to Mason Public Schools (MPS) to house the district’s administrative offices at Mason City Hall. This comes as MPS begins the design process of the first phase of the Capital Improvement Project after the successful passage of the November 2017 bond proposal.
Putting the municipalities together – school district and city government – could potentially create some shared services benefiting the entire community. Deb Stuart, Mason City Manager, states, “Sharing our space with our local school district administration has benefits. As a community, we are more connected and we hope to find ways to share resources. In addition, fully utilizing City Hall reduces overall costs to taxpayers and the residents of Mason.”
This move makes sense for the district as space is limited at the Harvey Education Center (HEC), which is in the first phase of renovation. The opportunity to move the MPS administration to Mason City Hall would improve the design of the building and maximize value. The move would further enhance HEC as an Early Childhood/Kindergarten facility by:
- Improving the flow of traffic through the building for 3-6 year olds
- Increasing safety and security by improving vehicle traffic flow, including pick up and drop off
- Reducing visitors to the building
- Increasing ease of parent and staff access to building programs
- Increasing green space, play space and parking at the HEC
- Improving programming options and shared resources
- Minimizing the building footprint
Melissa Netzel, HEC Design Team Chair, states, “We are looking to create an exceptional learning environment at the Harvey Education Center. From both a safety and programming flow, moving administration out of the building was the best solution for our students.”
More importantly, the proposed design at the Harvey Education Center makes a purposeful connection between early childhood education and Kindergarten. Studies show that students who attend high quality early childhood programs have a higher likelihood of success. Focusing on an early childhood and Kindergarten learning environment will help students be prepared for first grade. Creating this shared educational space improves programming options and resources.
Ronald Drzewicki, Mason Public Schools Superintendent, adds, “The possibility of a lease at city hall was discussed independently by the Mason Board of Education and City Council last fall. No terms were agreed to at that time. After our HEC design team began looking at available space for renovations with the current location of administration, the building footprint would be large, and there would be minimal green space, play space and parking. When the design team looked at options without administration, this made more sense as it provided a better learning environment for our students. We look forward to working with the City of Mason. This is a great opportunity for MPS to enhance the early learning environment for our students.”
The move of the Mason Public Schools Administrative offices to Mason City Hall is tentatively planned for the summer of 2018.