Dozens of people get their first glimpse of the new Ludington Primary School | News


FATHER MARQUETTE TWP. – New Ludington Elementary School received a warm welcome amid the blistering cold and snow on Saturday morning during an opening ceremony and an open house for tours.

Officials yesterday and today were on hand to cut the ribbon at 11 a.m., started by Ryan Lewis, music teacher at Foster Elementary School, leading students in a performance of the ‘Star Spangled Banner “. After a handful of speeches, a long orange ribbon was cut by Ludington School Board President Steve Carlson and Vice President Bret Autrey to the applause of dozens and dozens of people in attendance.

Then, staff from schools in the Ludington area organized afternoon tours.

“It was amazing. Each of the wings and rooms was so comfortable,” said Collette Rodriguez, whose son Easton Paniuski is a second-grader who will be moving to Ludington Elementary on Jan. 4, 2022. “I love that he there are separate rooms so that they can work in individual contexts.

“It’s a lot to watch.”

The pair toured the building on their way past and in various classrooms and areas, from Heidi Urka’s first year class in the first year wing, to the extensive library, in the fifth year wing, to the cafeteria then in the gymnasium.

“I don’t think they could have built it better. Everything here is state of the art, ”said George Foster, father of school board member Scott Foster. “I can’t wait to see what kind of difference this makes for our schools. “

Foster was happy that the students and staff at Ludington Elementary School also seemed safe if anything were to happen in the future.

Carlson, after several visits to the new building, said he had heard very positive comments about it as well.

“I’m really happy that everyone can see it, and we have another project coming up.”

Voters in 2019 passed a $ 100 million bond to build a new elementary school near the intersection of Jebavy Drive and Bryant Road as part of half of the total project. The elementary school will replace other elementary schools in the district – Foster, Franklin and Lakeview Elementary Schools and the Pere Marquette Child Care Center.

Construction on the new school began in March 2020 and was delayed a bit due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School was originally scheduled to be completed last fall, but delays pushed the opening towards the middle of the school year, just around Christmas break. However, carrying out the project halfway through an academic year took a lot of effort.

“Each of them (specialty contractors) worked together and went through tough times that no one had seen before to deliver this project on time. This feat could not have been accomplished without the entire GMB project team as architect and engineer, Communication by Design as technology consultants and district staff providing the construction team the decisions we need, ”said Ben Globke, Project Engineer at Christman Company. .

As the tours wrapped up outside the new school gymnasium, artist performances of upcoming work in the high school complex and athletic facilities were placed for what will be the second half of the project. which is expected to be completed by 2024.

During the ceremony, Harper Rasmussen, Foster’s current fifth-grader and future fifth-grader at Ludington Elementary, was a representative for the students and explained how she and her brother, Mason, were looking forward to the move in less than a ‘a month.

“I am delighted to meet all of the new students when our schools merge,” she said. “The library is going to be bigger, and I can’t wait to check it out. Since playing sports, I can’t wait to play in the gym and on the playgrounds …

“It’s good to be an Oriole.”

She, along with Mason Nickelson, Mia Nickelson and Landon Eaton, held up the ribbon cut by Carlson and Autrey.

Former Superintendent Jason Kennedy and the leader of the community group, Yes For LAS Committee, led by Vic Burwell, who campaigned for the bond issue, were thanked at the ceremony leading up to the ribbon cutting. Kennedy was at the ceremony and was presented with a Carlson plaque on behalf of the district for his work on the project. As Kennedy was introduced, he wiped away a tear or two.

“I don’t think a lot of people know Jason has spent countless hours here, almost every night, making sure this building comes to fruition as promised to voters in this district,” Carlson said at the ceremony.

After the ceremony, Kennedy – now the superintendent of Fruiport Community Schools – was grateful and happy to see the building’s construction completed.

“I drove a few times to go around, but you know it’s bittersweet,” he said in the new school’s office. “There is a lot of work on what you see (Saturday). The vision of the school board, our administrative team, our staff, the strategic planning process led to what you see here.

“We were firmly convinced at the time that a quality staff with a supportive community and state-of-the-art facilities that support teaching and learning lead to an education system that is the premier in the region. …

“Sure, there’s a ton of emotion… Just know that the community will be affected by this for generations to come. “

Burwell was also happy to walk through the new building on Saturday morning. He last saw it when it came to a basic structure.

“It was really inspiring to see the technical capabilities and the technology present in each room,” he said. “The acoustics absolutely surprise me. Looks like it’s going to be very loud, but it’s not. Each classroom, desks, layout.

“I would love to be in first year.”

Ludington Acting Superintendent Peg Mathis started the ceremony and thanked many people, and Ludington’s future Superintendent Kyle Corlett was also in attendance for the open house. This was another case where Corlett was able to see the community’s response to the district. And like elementary school students, Corlett’s first full day of work will almost coincide with the opening of Ludington Elementary School.

“It’s more than I could have wished for,” said Corlett, who will also have two children who will start attending the new school. “It’s a testament to the community’s support. Ludington has a reputation for being very supportive of schools. It’s something that drew me to a region.

Corlett was also on some of the tours and he appreciated the response.

“It’s so nice to hear people’s reactions to the beauty of the building,” he said. “Children love the playground and the gym. Teachers love large learning spaces and having working rooms, and bringing the two elementaries together. Parents like it, it’s clean and bright.

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