Since March, crews have worked on the school’s new two-story structure and renovated classrooms.
Overall, construction on the $48 million project remains on schedule and on budget, said Fruitport Community Schools Superintendent Bob Szymoniak.
The two-story building is slated for occupancy when school resumes after the winter break during the 2019-20 school year. It will replace the 1950s portion of the high school and connect to the almost 20-year-old additions.
The construction projects stem from a $51 million bond proposal Fruitport school district voters approved in 2016. About $48 million will be spent on the construction at the high school.
Classes already occupy the renovated art and drafting/engineering classrooms.
The new locker room is also nearing completion. Unlike the previous locker room, the new one will have direct access to the school’s gym.
The new tiered-seating auditorium will accommodate 799 people. Audiences will enter through the main floor and the second story.
The new structure’s hallways were also designed wide enough to classify as learning spaces, and they also have areas for students to use technology.
The curved building will provide for more options if the district was to pursue additions in the future. The curved hallways also limit line of sight for safety reasons, Szymoniak said.
While the new classrooms feature partial glass walls looking into the hallway, the rooms were also designed to limit full view into the classroom for safety and security.
The new commons area will house all student lockers, which will be 4 feet tall. The school also has storage created and planned for throughout the building, said John Winskas, the district’s operations director.
Construction plans also call for a bus loop behind the new building, which will connect to the transportation garage and middle school. Bus traffic will use that road to exit onto Sixth Avenue instead of Pontaluna Road. The road for buses will have gates to block other traffic from accessing the road.
FHS juniors Kolton Woods and Justin Miller recently toured the construction site for the first time. According to the current plans and schedule, they will spend their final semester in the new building.
Woods, 17, said he didn’t expect the new building to be so large. Miller, 16, said he’s looking forward it.
Fruitport school board President Dave Hazekamp says the construction has generated discussion and he believes the community is getting excited about it.
Szymoniak said a lot of planning and working with the community went into developing the plans. He said the district is working to be fiscally responsible while also building a state-of-the-art school the community can take pride in.