WLS REBUILDING PROJECT: FAQs
WLS Voters approved a 6.9-mill combined bond and operating levy in 2019, which meant if WLS contributed 20%, the state would cover the remaining 80% of all rebuild costs. Shoreland and Silver Creek were paid by our 20%. Everything moving forward will be paid by the state.
WHICH BUILDING COMES NEXT?
We have been approved to build a new Middle School, which will include our 6th-8th graders. This new building is being funded for 1580 students.
WHERE WILL THE NEW BUILDING BE BUILT?
We do not know an exact location yet, but Erme Field is currently the only property already owned by the district large enough to house a Middle School campus. This is important because the state’s funds cannot be used to buy property and we need significant space to build it.
WHAT HAPPENS RIGHT NOW?
Nothing yet. We are awaiting official approval from the state to move ahead with planning. We expect that decision very soon, and will be recruiting groups of community members to help us create a Visionary Board for the next phase. We want community input!
WHY NOT KEEP THE MIDDLE SCHOOL ON WHITMER’S CAMPUS?
We cannot build a new building on campus without tearing down both existing Junior High buildings, leaving students with nowhere to attend during construction. When Whitmer is rebuilt, (5-7 yrs away), we will need that space on campus to build while 2200 students still attend. Additionally, traffic on the WHS campus is awful and adding 550 sixth graders to it would only amplify the issue. We are excited to give our Middle Schoolers their own beautiful campus!
WHAT ABOUT TRAFFIC AND PARKING AT ERME FIELD?
There are many existing issues trying to navigate traffic and parking for the library, sports visitors and residential homes. Our new plan will enlist the city and traffic engineers to devise patterns that work for everybody.
WHAT ABOUT ALL THE SPORTS PLAYED AT ERME FIELD?
These changes will not happen for a few years, so we have some time and a few more sports seasons before we will need alternate solutions. We have the luxury of time, which will help us try to find appropriate, accommodating solutions. Finding a home for our sports teams will be on the list of priorities once we move forward in the next phase of planning.
HOW WILL YOU BUS STUDENTS TO WHITMER AND A NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL AT THE SAME TIMES?
The shared start/end time was implemented as a solution to the issue of having everyone on one campus. This would not need to continue once students are in separate locations. This decision is still several years down the line and the district will analyze enrollments as we structure those plans.
WHAT ABOUT MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO TAKE CLASSES AT THE HIGH SCHOOL?
These courses could be offered at the new Middle School, as merging schools and increased enrollments would likely mean a full class right on their campus. This will be discussed by the community Visionary Team.
WHAT COMES AFTER THE MIDDLE SCHOOL IS BUILT?
Whitmer, which was not initially approved for rebuild, has been reassessed by the state and now qualifies for the next phase. This will not happen for at least 5-7 years, but is on the district radar as we make decisions moving forward.