Dexter Community Schools will be getting a new facility to house their Alternative Education program.
Dexter’s Board of Education approved at their Oct. 30 meeting a motion to contract Krull Construction for the design build of a new collaborative lab. Krull’s winning bid was $595,000. The design build approach keeps construction costs down and allows the design to evolve as the project progresses.
The building will have the same appearance, quality and standards of other Dexter school buildings. There will be a kitchen area and laundry facilities. Julie Snider, who teaches Dexter’s Alternative Education is pleased with how the plans will serve Alt Ed’s students.
“What makes our program work is also what makes it so difficult. We are locked in there all day long, all together. And so it does matter what that space looks like and feels like. That’s why I did so want kitchen facilities so I could break up the day and we could sit around a table and eat and do family things, family things for children who don’t have family based homes.”
Currently, Dexter’s Alternative Education is housed in Copeland Administrative Building where students are spread out over several rooms including the auditorium and even at times in hallway space. Current space in Copeland for Alt Ed is about 800 sq ft. The new facility will have 2,300 sq ft.
Dexter’s Robotics Club will also be using the new facility, but their time will be limited to the winter months of the robotic season when the team competes at district meets and larger invitationals. Coordination between the two groups will work something like this: the Robotics Club will wheel their projects out of a designated storage area while working on them and return them once again when finished. This keeps the two groups and their work separate but under one roof.
Julie Snider noted the changing dynamics of Alt Ed and the challenge of having an area that can adapt to the group as it goes through its seasons. “Last year most of my students were students who didn’t have means,” she told the Board. “They were low socio-economic status. This year I have some who are there because they are anxiety ridden. They’re there because they’re too anxious to survive in the high school.”
Start for the project has been waiting for the Scio Township property at 8100 Shield Road, where the collaborative lab is to be built, to be annexed into the City of Dexter. Both governments approved the annexation last week and the District hopes to break ground before winter.