by Austin Marsman
In just over five months, a 17.1 million dollar bond project has changed the landscape of the Martin Public Schools campus.
Superintendent David Harnish recently gave Townbroadcast a tour of the construction, which includes a solar project, gymnasium, auditorium, administrative offices, and athletic fields.
The tour began in the narthex area of new construction. Workers are focusing on enclosing this area and connecting it with the current building.
On the left on the narthex is what Harnish referred to as a “breezeway” outside of the new additions. The concrete area on the right will soon have floor to ceiling windows as construction progresses.
Crews are working actively to winterize and finalize the remaining structures before winter sets in.
The board meeting room and administrative offices remain a high priority as the structure nears completion.
The gymnasium portion of the project is moving along after crews installed the railing around the upper walking track and continue to work on lighting and brickwork in the locker rooms
The varsity gymnasium’s concrete floor was poured in November. As other projects take priority and winter sets in, it has become a staging area for workers.
Crews earlier this month, installing the railing around the upper level walking track.
The gym also will have some natural light courtesy of translucent panels.
A massive wrestling room is located just off of the gymnasium. It is also being used as a staging area as other projects take priority.
The enclosed portion of the construction is tied to the school’s heating system. Large blowers like the one shown, keep warm air circulating in the workspace.
Brand new auditorium
The 400-seat auditorium recently gained a roof and crews are still working to stabilize it before pouring a concrete floor. The performing arts classes, bands, and extracurricular groups are excited for the possibilities an auditorium will bring.
Crews anticipate a concrete floor in the auditorium soon, they are currently focused on the roof, walls, and running cables.
Harnish observesd the progress being made in the auditorium
“Piece by piece, everything is coming together,” he remarked.
The auditorium has sprouted up in just over two short months thanks to good weather.
Work continues to run electrical lines before concrete is poured in the auditorium.
A majority of the exterior brick fascia work has been completed, but the cosmetic panels have yet to be finished. The west exterior of the gymnasium will have a retractable mesh net to protect the wall during softball season.
A view from outfield shows the in-progress varsity softball dugouts and fencing. The varsity baseball complex is located on the expanding east side of campus and it is at the same stage. The games and practices will be on the road again this season so that the grass can grow.
Students and staff now have another way to access information. Two television screens were installed in November, scrolling through important announcements all day. The screens are located near the main entrance and in the cafeteria, another television will be installed soon.
Besides meeting ADA standards and upgrading security, automatic doors were installed throughout the building over the holiday break.
Google Chromebooks and the tools that Google offers have already started to be introduced in the classrooms. The laptops are linked to Google Docs and help the district use less paper.
LED Lighting and Solar Project
The switch to LED light bulbs is one of the many ways that the Martin school district is both going green and saving the taxpayers some green, an estimated $24,000 per year.
The headline environmental initiative is the district’s solar project. Harnish has set a goal of powering 99% of the campus with solar panels, making Martin one of the only districts in Michigan to take on this challenge.
Harnish said he now expects the project to commence in March as there have been a few hurdles and snow accumulation on the roof has added to the challenge.
The project, according to Harnish, is still under budget and ahead of schedule. He credits good weather and anticipates the facilities to be ready for next fall.
Regular updates, including aerial photos taken by Harnish, on the bond project Facebook Page: Martin Public Schools 2016
(Photos by Austin Marsman)