PORTAGE — Renovation plans for Portage High School will transform classrooms from the industrial era to the future era, Portage Township School Superintendent Amanda Alaniz said.
"Portage Township schools will be future ready," Alaniz said.
At last week's City Council meeting, Alaniz discussed plans already approved by the Portage Township School Board to launch a $10.5 million renovation of the western portion of Portage High School.
"It's an exciting time in Portage, and it does take all of us. Thanks for the partnership," Alaniz told city officials.
The renovation, which will be completed by August 2018, won't cost taxpayers an additional dime, she said.
Alaniz said the $8.8 million construction cost will be funded through $7.35 million in 2017 and 2018 rainy day funds, $350,000 in 2017 capital projects funding and $1.1 million saved through refinancing a bond. Another $760,500 will be used for technology equipment and funded through the 2017 common school loan. The final $1 million will be for furnishings and additional equipment funded through 2018 rainy day and capital project funds.
Construction, which will begin this fall, will take the classroom space on the western side of the building and turn it into four learning communities.
Each learning community will have a common area for students to congregate and collaborate, maker spaces for low-tech shop classes, instructional areas, teacher collaboration spaces and student collaboration spaces. There will also be two science labs.
Bids are being taken for the renovation, with contracts likely to be awarded in September. The project will be completed in two phases.
Alaniz said the current west wing of the high school doesn't lend itself to a good learning environment because of a number of factors, including the high noise level.
Portage Township School Board member Cheryl Oprisko said renovation will be great for the school district.
"It will be among the best in the nation," Oprisko said.
In other business, Andy Maletta, the city's economic development director, said work is on schedule for The Promenade at Founders Square, a mix of retail and residential development in the city's new downtown.
Construction has also started on Hooter's in the city's Ameriplex development, with the restaurant/bar to be open by Christmas, Maletta said.
Residential construction has continued in the city this year with expansions in Cedar Creek, Hidden Waters and Cardinal Crossing subdivisions.
Maletta said an international company has chosen Portage as a future business site.
"I can announce the name of the company soon," Maletta said.