‘It’s a great day to be a Shelby Tiger’

December 16, 2023

Shelby Elementary School fifth grade student council members cut the ribbon for the new school.

‘It’s a great day to be a Shelby Tiger’

Shelby unveils new elementary school

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

By Allison Scarbrough, News Editor

SHELBY —  The community celebrated Shelby Public Schools’ new $19 million elementary school building during a ribbon cutting ceremony Saturday, Dec. 16.

Local officials, community members, school board members, parents, grandparents, teachers, school staff and students gathered to welcome the dazzling new school. 

Voters passed a 3.64-mill bond proposal in May of 2021 to fund $33 million in district-wide improvements.

“So many of you have anticipated the opening of this great building, and we’re so glad to be able to do this today before the busy holiday season ramps up even more,” said Shelby Public Schools Superintendent Mark Olmstead. 

“It’s a great day to be a Shelby Tiger,” said Shelby Public Schools Board of Education President Jason Fleming, who thanked the many key people involved in getting the bond vote passed to fund the new school. “And next, we have the biggest thank you of all — to you, the community members. You’re the ones who stood up and said, ‘Yes, we support the Shelby public school district’ and for showing our students how much we believe in them and value them and their education. You’re the real ones that made this happen.”

Shelby Elementary School fifth grade student council members also addressed the large crowd that gathered outside the school. “Thank you to all the teachers who are putting in the extra hours just to make our classrooms feel safe and comfortable,” said one of the students.

Shelby Public Schools Superintendent Mark Olmstead

“We appreciate everyone who voted ‘yes’ for the school bond and made this dream a reality.”

“What a great day,” said Senator Jon Bumstead. “I want to thank the school board and all the support from the locals who voted for this project for the kids. It’s stunning — it’s world class construction.”

The 65,000-square-foot elementary school replaces the Thomas Read Elementary built in 1956 and the New Era Elementary School constructed in 1963.

Shelby Public Schools Board of Education President Jason Fleming.

Students will transition into the new school after they return from holiday break, Jan. 3.

“The establishment of the new elementary school brings kindergarten through fifth elementary grade levels together in one building; a dedicated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) classroom; a state-of-the-art district food service kitchen; and safety and security upgrades,” said Superintendent Olmstead during a previous interview. “The design elements of the new school reflect the important elements of agriculture and nature that are present in Oceana County. We have about two dozen apple trees planted at the entrance of the new building, and each of the classroom corridors has graphics that represent ponds or forest settings common to Shelby and the surrounding communities within our school district. Our cafeteria looks out to a wooded setting through large glass windows where it is not uncommon to see whitetail deer grazing during different parts of the day.”

The Shelby Early Childhood Center along with the existing office space, kitchen and gymnasium will remain in the Thomas Read Elementary building, which has served as the K-3 building. “The classroom sections on the north side of the building will be removed through demolition in late spring of 2024,” said Olmstead. “This will allow green space to be developed, specifically allowing expansion of the Shelby Early Childhood Center playground area.” 

New Era Elementary School has served as the school building for fourth and fifth grades. “The future use of New Era Elementary is still being established as we find the best option that enables the building and space to be an asset to the community of New Era,” said the school leader. “Data from the recent individual Oceana County housing study and workforce study will continue to be considered as we move forward with establishing a direction in this last phase of the bond.”

In addition to the new elementary school, the school system has been working on several other improvements throughout the district. “Shelby High School has had a retrofit of the roof with the installation of a new membrane over the existing one,” said Olmstead. “Plans are in final stages to have further work done at the Shelby Early Childhood Center and Shelby High School in the summer of 2024. The projects are scheduled to include installation of secure vestibules at the main entrances at both buildings; corresponding remodels of the office areas in both buildings; the renovation of the track at the athletic complex adjacent to the high school; renovation of the lighting and audio systems within the high school auditorium; and refurbishment of most classroom spaces within the high school building.

“In addition to the bond-funded work, the majority of high school exterior doors were replaced this past summer using ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funds. The planning phases for improvements that impact Shelby Middle School and New Era Elementary will begin this upcoming winter with corresponding work to be started in the summer of 2025. The overall intended outcome of the entire project is that student spaces and building safety will be improved with the planned actions.”

Senator Jon Bumstead

The establishment of an updated school zone outside of the school campus is underway through collaboration between Shelby Public Schools, the Village of Shelby, Shelby Township, the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, the Oceana County Road Commission and input from the Michigan Department of Transportation. “Drivers along Oceana Drive and State Street within the village limits should expect to see adjustments to the roadway signage that indicates the presence of the updated school zone in the near future. There will also be new signage on the school campus that establishes a one-way drive from Oceana Drive that feeds into Shelby Elementary and Shelby High School. It is important to note that people wishing to access the high school office will need to use the new entrance by Shelby Elementary to access parking that will now be part of the one-way drive near the high school office.

“I am continually thankful to our communities for providing the ability for the school district to carry out this work in the interest of providing a safe, updated learning environment for the current and future generations of Shelby students.”

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