WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly three years after a large portion of Lee Middle and High School in Wyoming collapsed, work is underway to rebuild the portion of the school that was lost.

It was June 6, 2019, just days after school let out for the summer, that Godfrey-Lee Public Schools administrators learned a large portion of the roof in a nearly 100-year-old section of the school had collapsed sometime in the night. Weeks later, walls came down.

Engineers would eventually blame a corroded roof support for the failure.

Below, see drone video of the damage from June 2019.

Now, work is underway on a next-generation replacement for the fallen portion of the school. In 2020, voters approved a bond sale to fund the $20 million project that will bring improvements both at the collapse site and throughout the building.

Lee Middle High School sunken in
A June 6, 2019, photo shows a partial roof collapse at Lee Middle & High School in Wyoming. (Godfrey-Lee Public Schools)

“It’s been quite some time since we’ve invested in the building. So there are definitely some upgrades we will be making throughout the building,” Superintendent Michael Burde said.

Those upgrades include a 6,200-square-foot media center that will include community space, four new classrooms, as well as renovations to the rest of the classrooms, including new technology. The building will also get mechanical upgrades, like new fire alarms and sprinkler system.

“Moving staff and teachers and students around while we’re shuffling things and doing construction is going to be the challenge here,” said Bryce DeYoung, the project manager for Owen-Ames-Kimball Co., the construction company doing the rebuild and renovations.

That isn’t the only challenge. District officials hope to have the project completed in 18 months.

“But with delays in materials, we’re calling it a loose 18 months, knowing we might have to extend, knowing what’s available,” Burde said.

Construction has started at Lee Middle and High School, where part of the building collapsed in 2019. (May 5, 2022)
Construction has started at Lee Middle and High School, where part of the building collapsed in 2019. (May 5, 2022)

Another unknown is the cost of those materials. District officials are trying to avoid cost overruns.

“We’re monitoring it closely. It’s our intention to deliver on what the community supporter with the renovations,” Burde said.

Those challenges haven’t lessened optimism for the project.

“We are really excited about the opportunity to renovate and bring the school community up to speed with technology and just a wonderful learning environment,” Burde said.

Just under $18 million of the $20 million price tag will be paid for by the bond. The remainder will be covered by some federal dollars and leftover insurance money from the demolition project.