Building trusted partnerships is the key to successful projects. In April 2018, Independent School District 318 (Grand Rapids Public Schools) passed a $68.9 million referendum to build two new elementary schools and remodel the existing Cohasset Elementary. These facilities aimed to address severe overcrowding in the District as well as provide economic benefits to the surrounding communities. This referendum stemmed from years of planning and partnership development between the District and the cities of Grand Rapids and Cohasset.
The District and the City of Grand Rapids spent significant time determining ideal locations to place the two new elementary schools within the City limits. In the end, the City of Grand Rapids and ISD 318 agreed on a land swap to provide the best use of the property by both entities. The District received land previously owned by the City to build the new elementary schools, and the City received property that would no longer be in use by the District, which allowed them to utilize pockets of land for economic development and housing. “Every public entity needs to communicate with each other, and they need to recognize that sometimes they need to give it to one another,” stated Tom Pagel, City Administrator for the City of Grand Rapids. He added, “this partnership helped us create a healthier and stronger community.”
Partnering with the City of Cohasset led to the addition of childcare and senior citizen community center to the existing Cohasset Elementary school. These facilities provided much-needed amenities for the growing community and brought an economic boost to the city. Max Peters, City Administrator for the City of Cohasset said, “One of the biggest opportunities and challenges is finding ways that the project is mutually beneficial for everyone. What was amazing about this collaboration was the opportunity to bolster the communities that we have.”The unique partnership between Independent School District 318 and the Cities of Grand Rapids and Cohasset led to the completion of facilities that will not only continue to provide a great benefit to the students, but the surrounding communities for generations to come.
- 106,500 SF for new East Rapids ES, 106,500 SF for new West Rapids ES, and 70,000 SF for Cohasset ES additions and renovations
- $83.4 million
- project development, pre-referendum, program management, and technical services