FINCH: Career Center remodel

This summer will be another busy one for construction at the Mecosta-Osceola Intermediate School District (MOISD). The three main service components the MOISD does for the local school districts are:

  • special education — specialty services and programs;
  • general education — professional learning for teachers and staff; and
  • vocational training — located at the Mecosta-Osceola Career Center (MOCC).

Last summer, the MOISD completed a $1.3 million addition and remodel of the Education Center, a building for special needs students located on the east side of Big Rapids over by the National Guard Armory. That project remodeled parts of the aging building, added safety and security upgrades, switched the water source from a well to the city and added a cafeteria which also allowed for a new play area for special needs students to get exercise during the winter.

The construction projects last summer at the Career Center were delayed for one year after the construction bids came in over budget by almost 40 percent; therefore, we decided to wait a year and see if the bids would come in closer to projections and they did. Good fiscal management of public tax dollars is important when looking at investing in infrastructure; if waiting a year can improve the scope and quality of the project, then it must be done. The $1 million Career Center construction project is slated to start after the last student leaves the Career Center on the last day of school.

The project for this summer will have several objectives, including the redesign and relocation of the very popular “Starting Place” restaurant to the front of the building, allowing for better teaching space and improved access for the community. Included in the relocation will be an increase of work-bay space for the diesel program by relocating the automotive and diesel classrooms more forward in the building as well as improving our main bathrooms. There will be additional heating, cooling and security upgrades with a completion timeline for the start of the next school year (in Michigan one must always add weather permitting).

This project will be the third upgrade, addition or program remodel since 2005 to accommodate the expanded use and program upgrades at the Career Center. As usual, updates of the construction project will be available on the MOISD website, moisd.org, or on Twitter throughout the summer. If you don’t have Twitter, ask your students how to set it up.

Dr. Finch can be reached at cfinch@moisd.org or followed on Twitter @CFinchMOISD