Bay-Arenac LLC adding on
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STANDISH — Students at the Bay-Arenac ISD Living and Learning Center Arenac County will have the opportunity to be more active next school year, when construction of a new multipurpose room is scheduled for completion.
The Bay-Arenac ISD Living and Learning Center services students with moderate and severe disabilities.
Superintendent Mike Dewey said the project was able to get off the ground thanks to a $600,000 grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“This is a zero-based bond. The federal government pays the interest, and we will pay it back over a 10-year period,” he said.
Dewey said the district plans to pay $60,000 a year over that period. He added that this plan has been in the works for nearly four years.
“When these dollars became available, we jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “This is interest-free money.”
The multipurpose room is expected to be 2,200 square feet and will have a half-court basketball court, restrooms, changing rooms, kitchen area and a pull-out stage.
Dewey said having an area for indoor activities is not only a need at the Living and Learning Center, but in Arenac County. The Bay-Arenac ISD Living and Learning Center is located at 2032 Pine River Road in Standish.
“This is one of the things we have missed up here,” he said. “Because of our location, there are not a lot of places where our students can go, on a daily basis, and receive physical activity.”
Dewey said the community will also have access to the multipurpose room, upon completion.
“If someone wants to use it for an activity, if they want to have a community event, if there is a county presentation, this will be able to give us the ability to pull people together,” he said.
As for the students, Dewey said they will benefit greatly from the new building.
He added that in the past, programs performed by the students would have to take place in the building’s cafeteria.
“Now, parents will be able to come and watch their sons and daughters perform,” he said. “In the past, it just never worked out. This is something we have needed for a long, long time.”
Dewey said classrooms were used in the past for exercise and activities. He added that the district is looking at adding exercise programs for its student body, which is around 75 students.
“Now, they will be able to exercise and be active on a regular basis,” he said. “We are looking at ways to expand what we have.”
Dewey said just having a multipurpose room will improve what the district has to offer its students.
“When you look at (President Barack Obama’s) fitness program and we hear more about young people being overweight, we can now talk about nutrition and exercise and use the facility to show our students different ways they can exercise,” he said.
Dewey said that a couple of local contractors have placed bids to work on different areas of the building.
“This is money that will be going back into our community,” he said. “Some contractors are coming from Bay and Saginaw counties, but they are still putting money in locally.”
Construction is expected to be completed by August.