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Most Bond Funds Slated [for Secondary Schools

Most Bond Funds Slated [for Secondary Schools image
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(SECOND OF A SERIES) Approximately 75 per cent of the proposed $15,525,000 bonding issue, to be placed before the voters on Jan. 8, will be allocated to secondary school construction- if the funds are approved. This allocation is dictated by the statistical fact that 18,000 I students are presently enrolled in the Ann Arbor Public Schools, and a jump to more than 21,000 is predicted by 1977. Conversely, the projected sharp decline in the birth rate during the next 10 years means that only one elementary school, plus 10 other room additions, would be built with the proposed funds. Thus, money for secondary school construction (particularly the third senior high), is the major portion of the bond hsue. What specifically, however, is on the construction docket? The bond issue would provide funds for the first stage of a third senior high school, to be completed in 1971-72 at the Maple Road and M-14 intersection - $6,910,000; for planning money for the second stage, which would be completed by the fall of 1975- $62,000. The total estimated cost for. the third high school is $9 million. Also included will be a fifth junior high, to be completed in 1970-71 at Nixon and B 1 u e 1 1 Roads - $4,603,000; planning money for a sixth junior high, to be completed in 1974-75 on the Pioneer High School site- $94,000; a 12-room elementary school on the Pioneer High site (planned for conversión into ai junior high), to be completed in 1969-70- $1,059,000, 10 other room additions at Clinton, Mitchell, Pittsfield and Newport Schools, totaling an additional $359,000; additions to the main public library in 1969-70 for $584,000 and to the L o v i n g [ Branch Library for $67,000, and the construction of Pauline branch and Plymouth branch libraries, for an additional 1 000. Other items include a building and grounds facility for $417,000 and an apprenticetraining building for $108,000, both to be completed in 1968-69 on the Pioneer High site, and an administration building for $819,000, also on the Pioneer site in 1969-70. "as a total package," Westerman has said. The $25 figure, according to the supterintendent, was based upon extensive consultation with people knowledgeable on current construction c o s t s, and "provides some breathing space," since a number of projects are estimated to come in lower than the $25 allotment. (A more detailed account of the cost controversies over Huron High, the third high school and other projects will be in tomorrow's article) The need for the bonding proposal, according to Westerman, is based upon current and projected student enrollments. Since 1954, for example, the pupil population in the public schools has more than doubled, jumping from 7,000 in 1954 to nearly 18,000 this year. In 197172, when the first stage of third high school is slated for completion, student enrollments are expected to be n e a r 1 y 21,000. And secondary-school p u p i 1 s (who are presently enrolled in Ann Arbor schools) will account for about 9,000 of this total. Thus, according to the school board and adminstration, the first part of a third senior high school in 1971, (for 1,200 pupils) and a fifth junior high in 1970, are necessary to avoid "crowded conditions similar to those being experienced this year- a prospect viewed as most undesirable." According to the administration's statistics, if a third high school is not available in the fall of 1971, enrollments will be 2,554 at Pioneer and 1,880 at Huron, higher than the capacity of each. A sixth junior high in the fal] of 1974, along with the second stage of the third high school (accommodating 800 additional pupils), will also be needed, according to projections, if overcrowding is to be avoided. The elementary - school picture is an entirely different story, however. A sharp decline in the birth rate during the next decade is projected, according to current census data and enrollment projections. Thus, only one new elementary school, along with various room addiiions at other schools, are included in this bond issue. The need for 49 new elementary classrooms to meet the student population of the peak year (1970-71) will be met with the opening of the proposed elementary school in 1969, Green-Glacier School in 1968 and the room additions, along with additional classrooms' 'already programmed at Lawton School and Dicken Feeder School, according to Westerman. In addition, 25 of the portable classrooms owned by the school system will be retained "as a guarantee against overbuilding," Westerman has said. School Board President Hazen J. Schumacher Jr. has underlined what he termed the need for immediate planning and construction: "We have to geti going on our planning," he declared. "We have traditionally been behind (in school construction) in Ann Arbor, and we don't want to stay behind." If enrollments develop as predicted, only one additional bonding issue during the next 10 years, according to Westerman, will be necessary to finance the second stage of the third senior ügh school and the sixth junior high. This bond election would probably be held early inl 1972, for the amount of about $7 million. There are no enrollment proections available at this timel 'or the 1977-87 decade, for pro-l ections this f ar in advancel ïave usually been inaccurate. Renovations are also slatedl at Slauson and Tappan Junior Highs and at Mack Elementary School, as well as general, unspecified renovations at other locations, for a total of $592,000. The construction costs for the proposed projects are estimated to be $25 per square foot, according to Acting Supt. W. Scott Westerman Jr. The figure, which has repeatedly come under fire in light of the $30.63 per square foot costs of Hu ron High, is considered appropriatelj


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