By Tom Tolen /

The Brighton Board of Education recently approved contracts on several million dollars worth of construction and technology-related work resulting from the $59.4 (m) million bond issue passed by the voters in November of 2019.

The projects in phase II of the bond issue pertain to the new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) building to be constructed as an addition to the high school, mechanical and technology improvements.

The STEAM Center will be located on the South side of the high school complex next to the tennis courts and will be directly connected to the high school. Plans are to start construction in the near future, most likely during spring break, with completion by late November - provided there are no weather-related or other delays. There will also be STEAM center additions for each of the four elementary schools, plus STEAM upgrades at Maltby Intermediate School and Scranton Middle School in the later phases of the bond. In all, the STEAM projects at the high school and other district schools will encompass about $10 million, or nearly one-fifth, of the total bond issue.

All of the contract awards went to the lowest responsible bidder. The largest individual contract, at $2.9 million for mechanical work at Scranton, was awarded to Johnson and Wood of Burton, while mechanical work at the high school, totaling $1.2 million, was awarded to CSM Mechanical of Fenton. Also, an $800,000 contract for electrical work was awarded to Motor City Electric.

The board also approved contracts for technology improvements totaling about $874,000 from Moss Telecommunications of Grand Rapids. The work will involve upgrades to the wireless infrastructure, network switching and related cabling at buildings throughout the district. Although the Phase II bids were roughly $48,000 over the budgeted amount, the bond project as a whole is approximately $5.2 million under budget. Brighton Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Mike Engelter told WHMI although he’s not certain, he thinks the bids may have come in so low, in his words, “because we put the bids out during the Christmas holiday season and beat the summer construction schedule.”

Another major part of the bond issue is an indoor practice facility, which will comprise Phase III of the bond project. Although the bids have not yet been sought, the approximately 240-foot by 400-foot facility is being planned for the Southeast side of Maltby Intermediate School at Bauer and Brighton roads. Plans currently are to start construction in late summer, with the facility completed by late November. The facility will be utilized by all schools in the district, and on occasion where possible, by the community at large.

The bond issue will not result in any tax increase for property owners over the 7.19 mills now levied. That’s because the district’s bonded indebtedness has been reduced, and the financial picture has shown great improvement in recent years.