Future of Gwinn Area Community Schools discussed at town meeting

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 11:18 PM EST
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GWINN, Mich. (WLUC) - Members of the community came out to discuss the future of Gwinn Area Community Schools Wednesday evening.

Superintendent Brandon Bruce said his goal is to utilize one K-12 school.

With declining enrollment, Bruce said the three current buildings--Gwinn Middle & High School, Gilbert Elementary and KI Sawyer Elementary--are unsustainable.

Altogether, the three buildings require around $20 million in infrastructure upgrades to get back to sustainable use.

Among needs are replacements for doors, locks, lighting, toilets and valves. Bruce said upgrades would also be necessary to fix water issues. Gwinn Middle & High School would also need money for an HVAC project, a replacement of the gym roof and a redesign of the library.

Bruce said he was pleased with the community turnout and the discussion that took place at Wednesday’s meeting.

“It’s going to be a vote by the community,” Bruce said of the future of the district. “How do we get our folks on board? There’s lots of questions and a lot of moving parts, but this was great. It was awesome to see this many people show up. We had great conversation.”

“We need to be looking at how we can bring our students together,” said Tina Johnson, Gwinn Middle & High School assistant principal. “We’re a community school and we’ve been divided. I’m a product of our school system. I graduated from Gwinn.”

Members of the public raised concerns about the possibility of Gilbert Elementary closing, but Bruce said there are no current plans to do so as discussions about the future of the district have not reached that stage.

Bruce also gave an update on the district’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee, saying it’s in its early stages but meets once a month.

The district’s school board’s next meeting is Monday, Jan. 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the Gwinn Middle & High School Library.