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Posted on Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:54 a.m.

Construction on Pioneer High athletic field house making up for lost time

By Kyle Feldscher


The Pioneer High School athletic field house remains under construction after being delayed for four weeks due to a rainy May. The project is now two weeks behind schedule but should be done around the target date of Sept. 2.

Melanie Maxwell |

The $2.3 million construction project to build an athletic fieldhouse at Pioneer High School will bring the school's athletic facilities in line with Huron and Skyline High Schools and improve the safety for district athletes, according to school officials.

The project was two weeks behind schedule earlier this month, an improvement after a rainy May delayed the construction of the foundation by four weeks until the beginning of June, said Randy Trent, executive director of physical properties for Ann Arbor Public Schools.

Trent said the 6,300-square-foot project was planned to be complete by Sept. 2 and the construction schedule may come close to the original target.

“If there is no more bad weather we will make it, and if not, we’ll be off by a week or two,” he said.

The funds for the project are coming from the remainder of the district’s 2002 sinking fund project. The project includes dressing room facilities and a new practice turf field, which is expected to be completed on schedule.

The new practice turf field is the most exciting aspect of the project for boys lacrosse coach James Corey.

Corey said that, while the old facilities at Pioneer were "pretty archaic," having the new practice turf field will allow the program, along with the girls lacrosse program, to have a much easier time scheduling. He said practices would often be running from between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. during the season when each team needed time for practice.

"Because of Michigan's late spring, grass isn't a real option," he said. "We'll mostly be on the new field and we'll be much more competitive because we can have a much more open schedule."

District spokesperson Liz Margolis said the old dressing rooms underneath the stands at Hollway Field are outdated and leaky. She said having the new dressing rooms in the fieldhouse would greatly improve the experience for athletes.

"Those ones under the stands were unsafe," she said.

Corey confirmed this, saying that the dressing rooms located under the stands at Hollway Field leaked heavily during rain and were very cramped. He said it wasn't unusual to see teams changing and getting ready in the hallway.

To view a PowerPoint presentation from the school district on the fieldhouse project, click here.

The sinking fund is legally separated from the district's general fund, meaning the money the district spends on construction projects could not be spent on educational resources or personnel.

The project was approved unanimously approved by the Ann Arbor school board in early March.

The majority of the projects are taking place near Hollway Field. Crews are building new home and visitor dressing rooms, restrooms, an officials dressing room, a concession stand and a small stand on the visitors side of the field.

The project was originally supposed to include a weight training facility, but that has since been built inside the school instead.

Betsy Petoskey, president of the Pioneer Booster Club, said the construction project has been about 10 years in the making.

The original facilities were built at the same time the school was in the 1950s and were meant to hold just the football program, she said. Since that time, the school has been retrofitted to provide more access for the six programs that now use Hollway Field for their games.

Petoskey said all of the improvements will meet the evolving needs of the school's athletes.

“When Hollway Field first opened, it was just football. Now six sports use the field,” she said. “The needs have changed a lot. … This is going to be great for our student-athletes.”

According to district documents, Blaze Contracting will be paid $337,600 for site work, Fieldturf USA will be paid $549,103 for the synthetic turf work, Heaney General Contracting will be paid $945,949 for general trades, Mills Mechanical will be paid $289,000 for mechanical work and Huron Valley Electric will be paid $228,000 for electrical work.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Mon, Dec 12, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

It's worth mentioning the flawed logic in the statement the the new facilities "will bring the school's athletic facilities in line with Huron and Skyline High Schools" For the record, Skyline has one turf field (Not 2 like pioneer and huron) and only a home locker room in their stadium. These are kids, and it's embarrassing that the away team has to sit outside in the rain and cold. Favoring Pioneer over Skyline is nothing new, but it's silly to call it anything other than that...


Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

"The new practice turf field is the most exciting aspect of the project for boys lacrosse coach James Corey." ..................yet Pioneer is cutting men's and women's lacrosse...............what am I missing here???????


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:33 p.m.

In the 60's we used to dress in the school locker rooms and then walk to the field. We would then go under the stands for half time. I for one am happy to have my tax dollars actually build something I can SEE!


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

OMG!!! I just realized why they built that new stadium. We are all missing the boat here. To go with that new stadium UM just dumped a ton of money into. Might as well have two new nice looking stadiums to park near and next to. I wish I had thought of this sooner. Not. So, Ann Arbor needs to keep up with Jones. Nice huh?

Basic Bob

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

Can they simply NOT SPEND the money? Would that be ILLEGAL?


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

I've been driving by this project for months now and didn't know what they were building. It seemed interesting to me that they were spending this money in light of the cutbacks. But, now I can see that the building part of the project was very necessary. I agree with the question raised by SL about why the districts has been allowing students to use "unsafe" facilities for so long. This project should have been done years ago when the district finances were in relatively better shape. I'm not sure though that I agree with the expenditure on the field - that was much more of a luxury IMO rather than a necessity. Being the parent of a former Pioneer athlete, I was always a little surprised that despite the success of the teams and big revenue the schools take in for football parking, that the facilities weren't a lot better. Better late than never in this case.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 3:38 p.m.

I am totally amazed at how many people are clueless regarding where this money came from and what it can be spent on. This is a long overdue improvement that utilized funds earmarked for such a project.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

Let be be the first - on behalf of the hundreds (currently) and thousands (in the future) of student athletes who will this facility - to say thank you! Sometimes facilities need to be replaced or upgraded. While many will always see any expenditure for a school system as an inappropriate use of 'their' money that could be spent better elsewhere, I for one happen to think that this is a good idea. The Lacrosse coach seems to put things very well in terms stating benefits of an additional artificial surface to alleviate some bottlenecks and improve schedule headaches. The current facility (or lack of) in a word - sucks. This wil make the experience better for all. My kids thought the locker rooms were awful year ago. Improved safety and competition level? What do you think a spokesperson for the district is going to say? Would like to see an improved track facility next, but i don't see that happening any time soon.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 2:39 p.m.

This helps to further convince me that the AAPS administration and BOE are both tone deaf and unwilling to think about how things look to voters. They want a technology millage, because they are out of money. Yet they spend $3 million on a new weight room for varsity athletes and $2.3 million on new dressing rooms. How dumb is that from a PR standpoint? They claim the money is restricted and it is. Most of it is bond fund money that could have been used under current state law to build their new data network, upgrade their data center and buy some of the long term infrastructure that they want in the technology fund. This is what the money is restricted for - to use for CAPITAL needs. The sinking fund is supposed to pay for repairs and maintenance of facilities - how many schools could use an upgrade to higher efficiency windows or other energy efficiency improvements? Again this is what the current state law allows. DUH! The BOE just does not get it. Technology Millage - NO! NO! NO! - this just proves they don't care about tax payers!

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 11:25 a.m.

@Steve: You'll forgive DonBee. After years of ranting and raving about how the AAPS spends its money, and after being outspoken in these pages about the need to defeat the 2009 county-wide millage, DonBee is reaping what he is sowing because the school bus no longer picks up in his neighborhood. Karma. Outraged at this decision, he continues his rants, expecting the AAPS to spend money EXACTLY as he would permit (although he frequently does not have his facts straight) as the cost of his support for any funding. Karma Good Night and Good Luck

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Wed, Aug 24, 2011 : 4:43 a.m.

DonBee, I'm puzzled at your reference to the Financial Information Database. That's essentially a rehash of what AAPS puts in their annual financial report. In any case, the manual that governs how items are to be reported is not controlling statute; the sections of state law (the revised school code I cited) are authoritative in this situation. If you believe you have found contradictory evidence in your searches, I invite you to present it. Telling me to do my own research is not sufficient, since you are the one claiming to have found other information.


Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 3:19 a.m.

And doing just what you asserted was not done in your prior messages. Mr Norton - like it or not the more than $5 million spent on Varsity Athletic facilities this year, could have been used in one way or another to decrease the amount of money that was needed in the technology bond. Similar reductions could have been made elsewhere. As to "several district" - I did my research, I would suggest you do yours. As to your citation, I would suggest you look at the actual manual included with the FID database at MI.GOV it is a hard slog and I don't claim to know all of what it means, hence the comment about needing a lawyer to make the final decision. I find that if AAPS wants to use money for something, they find a way to do so, and if they don't want to, then they ask the tax payers for more.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 1:03 a.m.

DonBee - very nice-sounding assertions, but I don't see any citations, especially with regard to what "several districts around the state" may or may not have done. Reading the law, the matter seems clear to me. Please see the citations to statute that I provided. Second, yes, bond money can be used to "equip" buildings for technology, which the 2004 bond was in part used for. I didn't say that every part of the project had to be specified in advance. But the portions of the 2004 bond which were earmarked for technology have already been spent (this is 2011, after all). If the funds for the weight room came from that same bond, then I suppose they might be used for technology. However, no more funds will be coming from those bonds, so the $2 million you cite would not cover the technology needs the district describes. Since the district's bond counsel is a senior partner at Miller, Canfield who is widely regarded as an expert in the field, I imagine that the district is following the advise of counsel in this matter.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

Ann Arbor does not need new school buses, it needs to get rid of WISD and rehire the drivers they laid off last year and put them back to work doing what they know how to do and do well.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

Mr Norton - The bond funds were not specified for the new weight room, or a number of other projects that it was eventually spent on. The weight room and its $3 million dollar budget was an add-on because of "left over funds" - $ 2 million was bond money and could have been spent on technology. The sinking fund money spent here could have easily been used on part or all of the $6.2 million dollar portion of the technology bond for network upgrades and the supporting facilities: "$6.2 million to complete the upgrade to a 10-Gig "backbone" across the district and redesign the district's wireless network. Included in the bond's costs are also funds to cover the creation of server rooms/wiring closets as necessary, contingencies, and project management costs." There is $700,000 in building renovation for servers that is clearly something that the sinking fund can cover in Mr Trent's presentation. The network backbone has been covered under sinking fund money as new facilities in several districts in the state. Whether it is or is not legal is for someone other than I to determine. Of the $6.2 million in network money some where between 0.7 and 3.2 million could legally be covered by the sinking fund. It would take a lawyer to determine how much of that it is. Additionally it can be argued that the sinking fund could cover the project management in the various buildings an additional 1.5 million. Again it would take a lawyer to determine if it is legal or just done by some districts. Already $7 million plus of the Skyline bond money was spent on technology - According to Randy Trent's presentation at the board meeting - most of it not specifically targeted when the bond was approved again according to Mr Trent's presentation. So your statement that this money could not be used for this purpose it contrary to how some of it has been used.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:47 p.m.

I'm sorry, but this is not true by any means. I have also reviewed the preliminary technology bond proposal, and nearly all of it is for technology hardware and not for building modifications. The issue is not the "server closets," it is the hardware that is to be place inside them, along with laptops for instructional use, other handheld devices, and networking infrastructure to improve the inter-building backbone. In contrast, the Revised School Code says that sinking funds are "to be used for the purchase of real estate for sites for, and the construction or repair of, school buildings." (MCL 380.1212 (1)) Bonds, however, may be used for "acquiring, installing, or equipping or reequipping school buildings for technology" (MCL 380.1351a (1)). Statute and legislative intent make it clear that these purposes ARE NOT permitted for sinking funds, but only bond issues. Lastly, bond money can only be spent for purposes enumerated in the ballot language. I don't happen to know where the Pioneer weight room funds originated, but unless it came from bonds which the ballot language said might be used for technology, then it cannot be used for that purpose.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

But the $3 million dollar weight room for varsity athletes was $2 million in bond funds and $1 million in sinking fund. A number of the projects detailed in the technology bond request could be done from sinking fund money without violation of any of the existing regulations (e.g. improvements in the buildings for data "closets" and the data center physical plant upgrades. Not all of the "Technology Bond" falls into what the state defines as Technology. We both know this is true and yes I do have my facts straight. I reviewed the detailed "technology bond" documents and find that about 20% of it does NOT fall into the TECHNOLOGY definition from the state, in a very conservative review, I suspect a creative person could get another 20% covered under the sinking fund.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

I can agree that the timing and lack of explanation in advance were very unwise. But this is not bond money, as the story indicates. As proceeds from a sinking fund millage, it is illegal to use this money for technology. As I noted above, efforts to change the law to allow sinking funds to be used for technology and purchases of school buses have failed every year in Lansing for many years now. Please get your facts straight.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 2:19 p.m.

"bring the school's athletic facilities in line with Huron and Skyline High Schools " Now that's sure worth spending 2.3 million dollars we don't have. Except then the other 2 are going to want something better. When U of M spends millions on their sports programs they can just pass it on to the students. When the A2 schools wastes this money is coming out OUR pockets. Remember this when you see the next request for a milage. Oh gee, aren't they just planning to try and hit us with a anopther one for computers in Feb? It won't be on the Nov. ballot because too many people vote then. I normally skip the off elections but from now on I will make sure I show up to vote NO on everyone of these increases until this school system figures out that it's in the business of educating students and not blowing my money.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

"...spending 2.3 million dollars we don't have." Except we do have it and that's exactly what it was for. And how dare students demand decent facilities!


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 1:54 p.m.

@Kyle: thanks for this article. I've been driving past this building and wondering what it is and why it's being built. While it does seem extravagant given the current economic climate, once you understand that the funds come from a dedicated source, it seems like a worthy project. I've spend considerable time at the athletic facilities of the AAPS high schools as well as many other schools in the area. Pioneer has the the most dilapidated facilities I've ever seen. The bathrooms under the stands are horrible and I can only imagine what the locker rooms are like. This building seems like an appropriate use for the sinking funds.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 1:33 p.m.

As a Pioneer parent, I can tell you that there is nothing "elite" about any facilities at Pioneer. What's being built now is a necessity. The timing is good as athletics are getting cut left and right so these new and decent facilities help student ahtletes quite a bit.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:25 p.m.

@SLR...Pretty apparent you never had to suit up or meet in the rooms under the stands. Well I did in the early 70's well before Huron had a stadium of its own. In fact we bussed over from Huron suited up and used the rooms before the games and at halftime. You need to quit blowing smoke when you have never been in the facility. It was crap 40 years ago and probably still is. Long over due improvement regardless of economic times. Luxury my ...!!!!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : noon

I think over 20 Habitat for Humanity homes could have been built for $2.3 million. Or, many more local foreclosures prevented. Since the Freshman sports teams were all eliminated in this year's cut to the athletics budget, perhaps can tell us how many teams and how many athletes will actually use this facility each year? Also, perhaps can inform us which school trustees voted in favor of this elitist project and which voted against it? Also, which of the school board challengers support the project and which oppose it?

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 9 p.m.

... impacted. @blerg: just before you posted I wrote "In fact I would have preferred that the money had not been spent and had been returned to the taxpayers." No need for examples of what else the money could have been spent on! @jcj: I was just trying to illustrate the magnitude of the value of the money. When there are lots of zeros, in this case $2,300,000, sometimes people lose track of how much money that is. In this case, it is a luxury building, costing $365 per square foot. That is a very high per square foot cost for new construction.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 8:52 p.m.

@a2roots: since you asked, I went back to bank staff to get these stats. Over the past 15 years, University Bank has had 7 foreclosures in Ann Arbor (all of them since 2006). All 7 of them were in our retained portfolio and there was zero among the loans sold to the secondary market. Five of the loans were secured by coop units, one was an Islamic deal & one a standard home loan. Coop mortgages cannot be sold to the secondary market, & so were all in our portfolio (we were the largest lender to those communities in Ann Arbor). Since we have originated hundreds of loans in Ann Arbor over that time frame (& taking into account the specific problems impacting those coop communities as a result of their conversion to condominiums - FYI, University Bank's advice to them was not to spend the money to convert), I am very proud of our bank's record with respect to avoiding foreclosures in the context of a 10% local unemployment rate. Many of the 7 homes foreclosed were voluntary short sales or "walk-aways" where people handed us the keys and left us holding the bag. One was the result of a death where the surviving spouse chose to buy a smaller house and hand us the keys to the home we had mortgaged. The one conventional loan that we foreclosed on was the result of a layoff that caused a mental disability to regain employment where the homeowner was unable & unwilling to pay anything towards the mortgage. When we foreclose on a home, we fix it up to the best of our ability before we place it back on the market. In this manner, we upgrade the quality of each home we take back. By achieving a superior price at resale, we avoid driving prices down in that area & get a good price. Foreclosure is very serious. University Bank works to cure loan delinquency in a responsible & ethical manner. We opt for foreclosure as a last resort, acting in a responsible way to protect the bank's depositors while also respecting the neighbors who are also


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:27 p.m.

Stephen It does no good to suggest what this amount of money could have done IF it can't be spent legally on your examples! Using your logic Look at the number of housing units that could be built if we spent the money that is spent on U OF M tickets. Look at the foreclosures that could be avoided if we spent the money that is spent on hunting licenses on mortgages. Better yet if the big banks ( your profession I believe)in this country hadn't turned the economy upside down there would not be so many foreclosures!


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:32 p.m.

You do understand that sinking fund money couldn't be spent on any of these projects, right? If you're going to lambaste the spending decisions you might as well come up with real scenarios for how the money could have actually been put to use.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:31 p.m.

@jcj: I didn't intend to suggest the money should have been spent at all. In fact I would have preferred that the money had not been spent and had been returned to the taxpayers. I gave those other items as examples of what $2.3 million can buy in buildings instead of a locker room used by a few athletes for a few hours a day less than 180 days a year. Many taxpayers in our town have lost their homes in foreclosures. Some of them are living in a tent city on the west side of town.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

I would certainly like to know the record of your customer base with regard to foreclosures. How well has your portfolio performed compared to those loans that you sold? I would just love to see the servicing data.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:16 p.m.

Habitat for Humanity??? Why not just spend the money on a new parking garage or a new homeless shelter or maybe another park? Arguments to spend the money on other school short comings are legitimate. But not Habitat for Humanity! Nothing against Habitat for Humanity A very worthy cause , but not for these funds.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:53 a.m.

I remember using these facilities over 15 years ago, and they were disgusting and crumbling then. I can only imagine what condition they're in now. It also seems fair to bring Pioneer's facilities up to a similar standard to what is offered at Huron and Skyline. Sinking fund money can't be spent on teacher salaries, so I don't see what all the bellyaching is about.

Tony Livingston

Tue, Aug 23, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

Yes, Pioneer is so elite that this will be the first year in a long time that there are no students trecking out to the back 40 to portable classrooms. It is so elite that the theater program has to block off numerous seats for their performances because they are broken. It is so elite that they stuffed so many students in there that it was the biggest high school in the state even though it was not built for it. It is so elite that an entire wing was sectioned off, remodeled, and turned over to the rec. department while students were housed in portable classrooms. I could go on, but I think it is clear.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

@BM, Apparently you've never been in the Pioneer football bathrooms. There is nothing "elite" about them at all. Words like "dilapidated" and "leaky cesspools" are more accurate. While Huron had to go without a field for too long, that isn't the case any longer, and it certainly shouldn't be the logic for not bringing these facilities up to par.

Barb's Mom

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:11 p.m.

@ blerg, Huron High School did not have a football field for 30 years. Girls softball at Huron had to file a Title 9 law suit just to get portable bathrooms put next to the field a couple of years ago. The spending of this money is just to keep Pioneer as the "elite" High School.

Robert Bergman

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:33 a.m.

Think about how many teachers/tutors could be hired for $2.3 million. Think about how busing could have been saved with $2.3 million. Yes, timing is everything--I just paid my summer tax bill and now I hear that it was spent on a locker room and not on advancing the education of the children of Ann Arbor.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

I understand the regulations that money in certain funds cannot be used for other purposes. However I do with that when a city or school is facing budget problems that result in layoffs of important personnel (police officers, fire fighters, teachers) they be required by state law to exhaust such funds in order to continue delivery of services. Then maybe some teachers or programs could continue and non essentials like this building and and million dollar fountains might not "waste" the money. But until that happens, projects like this should go forth. Build it later and it will cost more.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

Secondly, this money was collected as part of the 2002 sinking fund proposal, which was in effect from 2002 through 2004. (A lower rate was approved in 2004 and renewed in 2008.) This money was collected some years ago, and could only be spent on building or renovation projects.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 4 p.m.

Sadly, because we raised this money ourselves (locally) it is strictly illegal to use it for any operational purposes, including teachers or running buses. We can build things as much as we want, but we can't spend any more money running our schools than the Legislature says we can.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:13 a.m.

"District spokesperson Liz Margolis said the old dressing rooms...... under the stands were unsafe," she said..... Corey confirmed this, " If I read that accurately the district and Pioneer continued to send kids in to "unsafe" facilities for how long? If they were actually "unsafe" (not to be confused with uncomfortable) why weren't they shut down as soon as someone realized they were "unsafe" (not to be confused with uncomfortable)? Shouldn't someone lose their job for putting kids in danger by forcing them in to "unsafe" (not to be confused with uncomfortable) conditions?


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Maybe they were shut down when they became unsafe.

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:54 a.m.

good question joe

average joe

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:30 a.m.

If the old dressing rooms were/are unsafe, does that mean that the stands that the fans sit on are unsafe as well?


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11:04 a.m.

Timing is everything and this seems like very bad timing for this project. In our house we talk about "needs" and "wants" this very much seems like a "want". A2 schools (Pioneer) included just proclaimed over the summer that drastic cuts would be happening in their athletic programs. I hope the drama/band/robotics teams have a leaky or "out dated" area in which they meet so they can have a new complex constructed to meet their "wants". Give it time more cuts will happen and teachers will be laid off. Pioneer your timing could not have been any worse!


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 11 a.m.

That is what I don't get. We eliminate everything else and build another useless building. Skyline was the tip this is the iceberg. Ann Arbor Public Schools needs to realize that there is no more money to be had and this is wasteful. Wow. So I guess what? The custodians are next to be outsourced to pay for this building?


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

I doubted the need for a whole new school instead of adding to Pioneer and Huron, but it was clear that both schools were overcrowded to an almost dangerous level. As noted in the article the money is there and has to be spent on a project like this one.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 10:37 a.m.

Translation: We had the $2.3 million available to us in a dedicated separate fund (a "bucket"), so we spent it! Was this the time to spend that kind of money on a luxury? Even if necessary, couldn't it have waited another year or two until the economy recovers? It doesn't set the right tone if you say from one side of your mouth we need to save money district wide and then drop $2.3 million on an athletic locker room. Will the staff buy in to cutting waste when they see this kind of spending? This is a great example of how the buckets encourage spending and make it harder to set priorities properly. Whether at the city or the schools, our leaders need to be fiscally frugal in these tough times!


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Yeah it is the time to spend it. Why wait? It's for the kids. Cut them some slack. Wait two or three years and it will cost more. So if the funds are there and the need is there it is appropriate to spend it. I just hope the women's teams are able to use this facility too so we don't get another Title 9 lawsuit for equality.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 4:32 p.m.

Mr Norton - Per the state law and regulations, the updates to the data center and data "Closets" are within the scope of the sinking fund, as are a number of other things they want to do - the network is on the edge of what is legal for a sinking fund. Only the laptops, servers, smart boards, etc are out of scope for the sinking fund. The $3 million for the weight room had more than $2 million in bond money that could have been used. Total Varsity Athletic spending is more than $5 million this year from the sinking fund and the bond fund. All of that could have been used in some way to cover the gap in technology that is listed in the technology millage request.

Steve Norton, MIPFS

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

DonBee - The article states that this money was from the 2002 sinking fund, not bonds at all. By state law, sinking funds may not be used for technology. Efforts to change this in Lansing have failed for the last 10 years.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 3:41 p.m.

"...But, no it has to be spent on athletics." I guess I don't understand why building decent athletic facilities are not a valid use of this money.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

This money was bond and sinking fund money. Legally limited by state law in what they could do with it. The bond money could have built the new data network they want and is in the tech fund budget. The sinking fund money could have built the new data center and data "closets" they want. But, no it has to be spent on athletics.


Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

"Luxury", When I played for Huron in the early 70's we dressed at Huron and bussed over to play games. The rooms under the stands were crap back then. Unless you been there you should hold your tongue.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Mon, Aug 22, 2011 : 10:38 a.m.

P.S. Drain the buckets!