Community Update on Bond Implementation


When I asked the residents of Grand Rapids to support our bond in 2015, I pledged to secure, connect, and transform our district. Two years after your overwhelmingly supportive vote, progress is being made.


Student and staff safety is our greatest concern. Although our schools have had secure entrances and requirements for all visitors to sign in through the office, many of our buildings were not built for the complex security concerns of the 21st Century. Led by Chief of Staff and Executive Director of Public Safety/School Security, Mr. Larry Johnson, building entrances and offices are being redesigned to meet today’s standards.


Our Management Information Services team has been distributing and installing new technology throughout the district. More than 4,200 Chromebooks and iPads have been distributed to students with a goal to have all remaining devices distributed before the end of this school year. This will help support the district’s new science curriculum, Discovery Ed Techbook. Instructional staff devices have also been upgraded as more than 1,400 teachers, staff, and principals have been equipped with new Microsoft Surface Pro 4 laptops. 800 classrooms throughout the district have been upgraded with new state-of-the-art, interactive, wireless projection capabilities. The remaining classrooms are on the schedule for the same upgrade.


Ridgemoor Park Montessori

GRPS has a proud tradition of Montessori education as one of the first and only districts in the country to offer preschool through 12th grade Montessori education. Due to the success of the North Park and Grand Rapids Montessori programs, we renovated the former Ridgemoor Park Early Childhood Center to serve as a new Montessori option on the southeast side of town. The building has been transformed and reopened this fall with preschool through 6th grade students.

Grand Rapids Public Museum School

The first class of high schoolers will start in the fall of 2018 at the newly renovated Museum High School. The landmark 54 Jefferson, which served as the original public museum, will become the ultimate place-based learning environment. The dark and dusty building is being rejuvenated with a $10 million investment to become a first-of-its-kind high school, where students will have access to the museum archives located on-site to enhance their curriculum.

Buchanan Elementary School

If you drive by Buchanan Elementary, you will see the concrete walls rising behind the current building. With a complete cost of $13 million, Buchanan Elementary’s renovation and addition is scheduled to be completed in August of 2018.

City High Middle School

The $17 million renovation will update the HVAC system and install LED lighting throughout the building. Thanks to bids coming in under budget, all classrooms and science labs will be updated. Classrooms will receive new window treatments, refinished hardwood floors, and classroom furniture. Science labs will receive the same, as well as new casework and counters, fume hoods, and Smart Boards.


Southwest Community Campus

A partnership between Dwelling Place, Ferris State University, Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities, GRPS, Habitat Kent, Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, and the residents of the neighborhood, Plaza Roosevelt will be a transformation to the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. The area northeast of Franklin and Grandville will include affordable housing, plaza, outdoor art, increased access to healthcare, increased after-school programs, and the new Southwest Community Campus High School. The $20 million project is anticipated to be completed in the fall of 2020.

Air Conditioning

After the heat wave last fall, I requested the bond schedule be reevaluated to move some air conditioning projects to 2018-19. Thanks to the hard work of our Facilities and Operations Department, air conditioning will be installed and completed at Campus Elementary and CA Frost Environmental Science Academy (Elementary) by Fall 2018. Brookside Elementary, East Leonard Elementary, North Park Montessori, and Shawmut Hills School will be completed Spring 2019.