GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - As a part of Grand Rapids Public Schools' transformation plan, Stocking Elementary School -- which closed its doors in 2010 -- is undergoing construction and is scheduled to reopen this fall.
The $2 million accelerated renovation at the nearly 100-year-old Stocking school is well underway.
"We're getting new electrical and new heating in here, but otherwise you really wouldn't know that we were even here. That was kind of the goal," Kirk Oosting of Owen Ames Kimball Construction explained.
PHOTOS: Construction at Stocking Elementary
The project that would normally take the better part of a year will be crunched into four months.
"One of the things that we've done with a compressed schedule is we're working in every corner of the building at the same time," Oosting said.
They are aiming to keep as much of the original building as possible.
The district is hoping that if they build it, the students will come back. Whether that will actually happen is still unknown.
Shutting down Stocking was contentious. District officials said the school was too old and needed too much work.
"We felt like they weren't giving the school a fair shake at the time," parent Chi Benedict said. "I don't think they were really thinking about the people and the kids that it was going to affect."
She was among the parents who wanted Stocking to remain open.
And when the school finally did shut its doors, Benedict said, a lot of the involved, passionate families moved districts or just moved away,
"I think that was the straw that broke the camel's back for a lot of people. They felt like they were being shuffled around," Benedict said.
And while she's glad the school will reopen this fall, Benedict said that it's too little and too late for some families.
"Some of our kids are just getting too old to be at a K-5th," Benedict said.
She said the reopening won't change things for her kids. They'll stay at their new schools.
"I know it was a good school, but now they have something to prove. It's been closed for three years. It's going to have a new principal. It's going to have new faculty members. It's not going to be quite the same as it was," Benedict said.
GRPS spokesman John Helmholdt said that while the anticipated cost of renovations was a main reason for closing Stocking in 2010, the district has re-prioritized and decided that now is the time to invest there.
"We need to look more carefully at the numbers; what are student-parent needs; where they are; how do we meet them where they're at," Helmholdt said.
And Helmholdt said the district is committed to keeping Stocking Elementary open.
"I know what the superintendent would say," Helmholdt said. "She would say, 'I've made my decision. This is going to stay open.'"
The district currently expects Stocking to serve 220 students. Students may enroll up to the first day of school.
For registration information, go to GRPS.org or call 616.819.3130.
In front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.
An observation survey was conducted by the Wayne State University Transportation Research Group.