Work to improve traffic safety at middle school expected to take place this summer
Tue, 05/17/2022 - 12:15pm caleb
House demolition, utility work, new bus lane to be first phase of project
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
Work related to the Crawford AuSable School District’s effort to merge the front of Grayling Middle School with its green space located across the street and create safer pick-up and drop-off points for parents and buses is slated for this summer, school officials said.
In August of 2021, school officials approached the City of Grayling about “vacating a small portion of Ottawa Street” to allow the district to reconfigure the front of Grayling Middle School and convert the “middle school building into a middle school campus.” The city council voted 5-0 to approve the district’s request to vacate a part of Ottawa Street for the project.
In 2022, the school district asked voters to approve a $21 million bond proposal for a variety of improvements at Grayling Middle School, Grayling High School, and Grayling Elementary School with some of the money intended for the campus project at the middle school.
Superintendent Justin Gluesing said the demolition of a house on Ottawa Street, reconfiguration of utility lines in the area, and a new bus drop-off lane at the middle school were not included in the bond proposal. Construction of a new entrance to the middle school across from the green space and addition of parent parking opposite the new bus lane are part of the bond proposal, school officials said.
The new bus drop-off zone will include removal of curb and sidewalk along Chestnut Street and addition of a new separate traffic lane for buses, Gluesing said. Traffic safety concerns at Grayling Middle School have been an issue for a long time, according to school officials.
“The cross-traffic and safety concerns during a typical school day are well known. By closing this one-block section of Ottawa Street, we will be able to create a designated bus drop-off area, create a parent drop-off zone separate from bus traffic, improve student/pedestrian traffic/safety on and around our campus, utilize the green space more safely for student classes and other activities, and create a more welcoming space for our community,” Gluesing said prior to the bond proposal election.
Voters approved the bond proposal 941 to 800 on Tuesday, May 3.
Gluesing said the district wants to have the first phase of the project – house demolition, utility work, and construction of the new bus lane – finished “hopefully by the start of school in the fall.”
“We should be in much better shape with that,” Gluesing said. “That’s just a small first step forward with the project.”
Other scheduled improvements at Grayling Middle School – including the construction of a new front entrance and main office, a new media center, an area for middle school wrestling, and improvements to the kitchen/cafeteria – will not begin right away.
“The first major construction at the middle school won’t take place for another year because there’s a lot of architectural work to be done,” Gluesing said last week.
The bond proposal plans also include a few improvements at the elementary school and the high school.
Gluesing said the district appreciates the community’s support, especially during a time when gas prices and other costs are rising.
“I’m excited about the passage of the bond and grateful to the community,” Gluesing said. “It’s nice to know we have the support of the community to move forward with the full vision of the project.”