CALEDONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Voters in the Caledonia Community Schools district are being asked to OK a supplemental bond proposal after inflation threw off construction estimates included in a 2020 bond.

Residents approved an $88 million bond in 2020. Now, the district is asking voters for the $61 million supplemental.

It says some of the projects included in the 2020 plan cannot be completed without the additional funding. Superintendent Dedrick Martin said construction costs have increased dramatically.

“On average, we are looking in the neighborhood of 20% to 30% more than what we put to paper in 2019 when we developed the estimates for this original bond,” Martin said. “Just like everyone is experiencing an enormous price hike at the gas station or the grocery store, that same price hike has come to the world of production. And so what we quickly found is we do not have the ability to stretch that money across everything that our community supported originally in 2020.”

It has already completed some of the building work funded through the original $88 million bond.

“We did some substantial renovations to Duncan Lake, which is one of our middle schools, we also did substantial additions and renovation to Kraft Meadows Intermediate School,” Martin said.

One project that has not been finished is building and relocating Dutton Elementary. Forty million dollars of the supplemental bond will go toward the project.

“This school is over 60 years old. This school has had multiple add-ons, additions and tweaks,” Martin said.

He said the aging building is not big enough for the growing district and the location itself is a problem.

“This is an elementary building that is in the heart of an industrial zone. Not appropriate for elementary schools anymore,” Martin said.

The district already owns property on Patterson Avenue near 76th Street and has plans to begin construction this fall if the bond is approved.

The site where Caledonia Community Schools hopes to build the new Dutton Elementary. (April 14, 2023)
The site where Caledonia Community Schools hopes to build the new Dutton Elementary. (April 14, 2023)

The money will help in other areas as well.

“A community center, which will include a high school competition pool with integrated diving wells for our high school students who have never had a home for their swim team,” Martin said.

The proposal will be on the May 2 ballot. You can read more about it on the district’s website.