Alpena School Renovations Improve Safety and Learning Environments | News, Sports, Jobs



News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Superintendent Dave Rabbideau looks down a hallway, explaining where the new tile meets the old tile at Ella White Elementary School. Rabbideau explained that new tiles were purchased in bulk to supply new tiles to all schools.

ALPENA – Keeping students safe, warm and dry is a top goal for Alpena public school administrators and staff, who work hard to ensure these goals are met.

Thanks in large part to voters, the school district approved $ 33.9 million in bonds that voters approved last March.

Now, work is underway at many schools in Alpena, many projects have been completed, and new equipment such as boilers, lights and plumbing fixtures are working as they should.

New roofs have also been added to several schools, which is important as the old ones were notorious for their leaks and safety concerns.

APS Superintendent Dave Rabbideau on Tuesday gave The News a tour of two of the schools, Ella White and Lincoln Elementary Schools, where a lot of work has been done. A few small tasks are in progress, but some of the work has stalled as contractors wait for the necessary materials.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena Public Schools Superintendent Dave Rabbideau, left, chats with Lincoln School Principal Courtney Fredlund during a visit to the school’s library on Tuesday. $ 7 million has been spent on improvements to Lincoln, Ella White and Wilson elementary schools since a $ 33.9 million bond proposal was passed by school district voters.

Ella White is also awaiting the arrival of new play equipment for children to play on during recess and lunch hours.

Rabbideau said things like energy efficient heating and lighting are important, as is making sure roofs keep water out of the school. He said keeping students safe, warm and dry creates a more comfortable environment in the classroom, which makes teaching and learning easier.

“Things like boilers, roofs and lights aren’t as exciting as other things, but are the most critical,†he said.

The school district knows it is entrusted with public money and does its best to take responsibility for it.

The district has purchased items such as flooring in large quantities, which can be used in more than one school. Rabbideau said that often items like sinks aren’t that expensive, but work and modifications to school buildings to install them make some projects less affordable than others.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Lincoln Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Brittany Giordano uses a laptop and projector screen during the classroom lesson on Tuesday.

“People see the cost of installing sinks in classrooms and don’t understand that the total cost is not just about the sink,†Rabbideau said. “In some areas we didn’t have plumbing and had to install new lines, often in concrete, in tunnels or having to work with asbestos.

Little work has been done at Alpena High School, Rabbideau said, but the district will meet the need soon.

On Monday, there was a ribbon cutting at Wilson Elementary School to celebrate the improvements that have been made to it.

District administrators, school staff and students proudly posed for photos in front of the facility as the ribbon was cut.

Rabbideau addressed the crowd and talked about the work and the cost of the projects.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz Ella White’s students use Chromebooks to learn in class. The school system has invested heavily in technology in recent years to give children the best opportunity to learn at school or at home.

“Overall, we’ve spent about $ 7 million of our bond funds on work at Ella White, Lincoln and Wilson schools and we’re doing the work made possible by bonds,†Rabbideau said.

Now that the new heating, air conditioning, roofing and plumbing systems are up and running, Rabbideau said the school district should start benefiting from lower energy bills as the new equipment is much more efficient, which will help the results of the school system for the years to come. .

Rabbideau said it is important for parents and other members of the community to see for themselves the work that has been done. To make this possible, the district rotates where its monthly school board meeting is held. Next month it will be at Lincoln School.

“It allows us to be able to highlight all of these great things that are happening,†Rabbideau said. “We want people to be able to see them for themselves and not just in pictures and on social media. “

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Superintendent Dave Rabbideau explains how Ella White Elementary School’s new lighting system uses a technology called light harvesting. The lights sense when and how much light is needed at any given time, and can dim or even turn off when needed.

News photo by Steve Schulwitz A group of students from Wilson Elementary School showed the school’s mindset on Monday when they gave a presentation to the school board on why their school is great .

News Photo by Steve Schulwitz Alpena Public Schools Superintendent Dave Rabbideau, left, chats for a moment with Ella White, sophomore Bryce Binkley while at school. Rabbideau said improvements to the local school will create a better learning environment and keep them safe, warm and dry.

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