School Officials Tour "62 Percent Done" New Pattengill

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Lansing school administrators and members of the district's bond committee toured the brand new Pattengill Middle School Tuesday. The project manager says the building is on schedule and on budget.

Project Manager Tim Ward says the renovations have run up a $28.5 million tab so far, and should come close to roughly $30 million projected cost.

Superintendent E. Sharon Banks shows off the new facility like a proud parent.

"You can see every room and feel what it will be like when the kids are here," Banks said.

But Banks and the school board arrived for the tour like students, in a school bus.

Visitors got an extensive tour of the three-story building. It offers some of the standard fare: classrooms for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, each with their own floor. Younger "gifted and talented" students will also have a wing in the new building.

The new Pattengill also offers an expansive auditorium, music facilities with individual practice rooms, and a dramatic three-story glass-enclosed atrium.

"We love the Rotunda," Banks said.

The construction is part of a $68 million school’s bond passed by Lansing district voters in January 2003. Ward, the construction manager, says all projects in the bond are currently running under budget. Other projects in the bond include renovations at Eastern, Everett and Sexton high schools.

When it's done, the new Pattengill building, the largest spending item in the bond, will feature 36 classrooms will enough room for 850 students.

But it's more than bricks and mortar, the building is a new opportunity for a district with declining enrollment.

"It breathes new life into a community where we haven't had a new school in 31 years," Banks said.

Claudette Curl is just the kind of parent administrators hope the building will attract.

"I think it's spectacular and can't wait to see it when it's done," Curl said.

Curl, a former Lansing schools employee, lives in Dimondale, but sends her kids to Lansing schools.

"I truly believe in the program and the education that they're getting in Lansing and now they're a building that's equivalent," Curl said.

Aside from serving current Pattengill students and future new ones, school board members hope assets like a new auditorium can be enjoyed by everyone in the community.

"I can just see people coming in for various things and official city ceremonies," board President Guillermo Lopez said.

Lansing administrators expect Patengill students to move to the new facility in January 2007.