Hudsonville asking for $140 million bond amid growth

Ottawa County

HUDSONVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Hudsonville Public Schools is working to manage a boom in the number of students, asking for a bond to expand and improve buildings.

The district says the student population has doubled in the last 20 years.

“The projection is that our enrollment will increase by about 500 kids in the next five years,” Superintendent Doug VanderJagt told News 8 over the phone Wednesday. “We’ve averaged about 125 kids additional every year for the past eight (years).”

Staff in the school buildings says they can see the growth in their classrooms.

“Class sizes have definitely increased,” Hudsonville High School teacher Marc Beemer. “If we have well over 30 to 40 students in the classroom, it’s going to be more difficult for our students to learn.”

To manage the growth, the district is asking for a $140 million bond to build new and improve current facilities. The district says the improvements won’t require a tax rate increase. Rather, the bond will extend the current rate further into the future.

“Because of how many new developments have moved into the Hudsonville community and the turnover of houses, we’ve been able to pay off our bonds faster than projected,” explained VanderJagt. “We can pay it off in eight to 14 years.”

>>Online: Hudsonville bond proposal

Some of the planned improvements include adding a gym to Forest Grove Elementary and connecting the freshman campus to the main Hudsonville High School campus. In addition, the district plans to add a new fifth and sixth grade building near Baldwin Street Middle School.

“The five/six building will be on the north end of our district, which will alleviate the pressures at the elementary buildings on the north end as well as the middle school,” VanderJagt said.

“I think it’s great! Some of it won’t hit my kids; some of it will be the future of our Eagles,” parent Erin Gorham said. “You can see they’re just maxed out. They’re utilizing every space possible just to fit the kiddos that are in the building.”

The district says it hopes to have a lot of the work completed in three years, but first it needs the community’s support at the polls.

“We really wanted to look at long-term plans that we think will take us for the next 20 years to be able to maintain what we’re doing,” VanderJagt said.

The superintendent says some of the projects could take up to seven years to complete. The community will have the opportunity to learn even more about the project and bond proposal at upcoming public forums. The issue will be on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links