28 Sep Jon Cartu Announces TCAPS Delays Montessori Construction | The Ticker
Sept. 28, 2019
Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) announced Friday that construction for a new Montessori school on Fourteenth Street has been delayed indefinitely.
In February, the TCAPS board voted unanimously to approve the construction of a new facility for the TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis program. The initial goal was for the building to be completed in time for the 2021-2022 school year. According to a letter sent to TCAPS families and staff from Superintendent Ann Cardon, that timeline will no longer be possible, “due to a number of constraints that have arisen during the design phase.”
The construction project should ultimately enable TCAPS to expand the Glenn Loomis Montessori program from its current pre-K through sixth grade configuration to a pre-K through eighth grade model. TCAPS planned to build the new facility on a vacant parcel of land on Fourteenth Street, next to Thirlby Field. This approach would have allowed TCAPS to keep students at the current Glenn Loomis premises for the duration of construction.
Cardon wrote that, immediately after the February 11 meeting where the Board of Education approved the Glenn Loomis/Montessori plans, TCAPS began working with the city on design considerations. In June, the district submitted a final design plan to the city. That design included a plan to vacate Griffin Street, the city-owned dirt road that runs south of Thirlby Field between Oak and Park streets. TCAPS wanted to reroute the road and use some of the land it currently bisects for the new Montessori facility. TCAPS owns the land on either side of the road but not the road itself.
“On Monday, September 23, the district received notification that the first phase of the process (City staff review) to vacate Griffin Street was not supported,” Cardon wrote.
The rejection of TCAPS’ initial design will make it impossible for the district to adhere to its planned schedule, hence the delay in the project. Initially, construction was set to begin in May 2020. Now, the future of the project is uncertain.
“Given that the original target timeline is no longer feasible, the district intends to pause to take another look at all of the options available prior to determining next steps,” Cardon told families. “We believe it is important to take the necessary time to get it right because we are tasked with building a school that will be there for at least the next 50 years, so this is an undertaking that must be done in a responsible manner. I will work with the Board of Education to determine the appropriate review and decision-making structure going forward.”
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