Portage supt.: New facilities transforming community

Kalamazoo and Battle Creek

PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — A huge transformation is underway at Portage Public Schools.

From Northern to Central, you can see the changes as you drive through the city.

“You walk into this building and there’s an openness to it that kinda captures you,” Superintendent Mark Bielang said of the new North Middle School.

Portage North Middle School sign
Portage North Middle School welcomes visitors on Sept. 11, 2019.

The new middle school is built for the changing face of education, from a dedicated STEAM area to open, collaborative rooms that allow for better project-based learning.

colorful stools inside portage north middle school
A Sept. 11, 2019 photo shows the inside of the new Portage North Middle School.

“One of the kids actually said, I said, ‘How do you like your new building?’ And she said, ‘I wish this was my house.’ It’s very meaningful to the kids that are in here now,” said Bielang.

Students sitting in cafeteria
A Sept. 11, 2019 photo shows the cafeteria inside the new Portage North Middle School.

Bielang says when voters said yes in 2015 to a bond for replacing two 1960s-era middle schools and building two stadiums, they were saying yes to a strong future in Portage.

green grass bordering sidewalk
A view from Portage North Middle School overlooks the area where a new pool will be built. (Sept. 11, 2019)

“Obviously our community prioritizes education and sees the value in spending their resources on this kind of stuff,” said Bielang.

Last fall, for the first time in 50 years, the Portage Northern Huskies had a stadium to call home.

Mustang statue with sky background
A statue of a Mustang catches the sunlight at Portage Central. (Sept. 11, 2019)

This fall, Portage Central is celebrating its new McCamley Field, allowing the Mustangs to cheer from the west side of the stadium so the brightly-setting sun is at their backs.

A Sept. 11, 2019 photo shows Portage Central’s new McCamley Field.

“We’re really trying to transform what happens both inside and outside our buildings. So, the buildings that we’re building are transforming the community — the way they’re designed, the way we have teacher input and staff input into what these buildings look like and how they’re to be used,” said Bielang.

Online:

Portage Public Schools Master Plan Update

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