Shelby’s new elementary school taking shape

December 27, 2022

Photo courtesy of Jeff Scott of Scott Consulting.

Shelby’s new elementary school taking shape

Tiger Pride is a presentation of Shelby Public Schools in partnership with Oceana County Press. 

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor. 

SHELBY —  Construction is moving along on Shelby Public Schools’ $19 million 65,000-square-foot elementary school building located along Oceana Drive north of the high school. 

Photo courtesy of Jon Den Ouden of GMB Architecture and Engineering.

The new elementary school will replace the Thomas Read Elementary built in 1956 and the New Era Elementary School constructed in 1963.

The district is making $33 million in district-wide improvements after voters passed a 3.64-mill bond proposal in May of 2021 to fund the project.

A key component is centralizing all buildings into one campus. K-3 students currently attend Thomas Read Elementary, and fourth and fifth grades are housed six miles to the south at New Era Elementary. This creates bussing and scheduling issues. 

Despite the wintry weather, the project continues on schedule. “We won’t have the entire building enclosed through the winter time, but we’re going to try to get as much of that done as we can, so inside work can get done,” said Superintendent Mark Olmstead. “The masons have been working hard to put the walls up, so we can start putting trusses up and the roof, so we can start getting some of the interior work done.”

Excavation at the site began at the end of June, said Olmstead, who began the superintendent job around the same time. 

Photo courtesy of Jon Den Ouden of GMB Architecture and Engineering.

The projected time frame for completion is next October. The transition could occur after the students return from Christmas break in January of 2024, so education is not disrupted, said the school leader. The transition process is still being developed. “That will get more detailed as we get into spring and summer.”

The project includes potentially transitioning the current elementary schools — Thomas Read and New Era — to early childhood and community resources facilities. “We’re currently looking at what we can use those spaces for to be of best service to the community.”

The New Era building may be converted into a daycare center, but that has not been finalized. College extension courses or vocational training could be other uses for the buildings. 

Also included in the project are renovations to the high school and middle school buildings.

The Christman Company in Grand Rapids is the lead contractor for the project, and GMB Architecture and Engineering handles the architectural design. Communications By Design is the district’s technology consulting firm.

Photo courtesy of Jeff Scott of Scott Consulting.

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