Contractor approved for new roadway outside of Dowagiac school

Published 10:39 am Tuesday, June 30, 2015

After years of discussion and months of serious planning, leaders with Dowagiac Union Schools now have a builder for their next major construction project — and an estimated price tag to boot.

The Union Schools board of education held a special meeting at Dowagiac City Hall early Monday morning, where it voted unanimously to approve a contract with Northern Construction, based in Niles, to handle building duties for an expansion of the Riverside Drive roadway outside of Dowagiac Middle School. The local construction firm submitted the lowest bid out of the three companies competing for the contract, projecting costs of $177,512, said Superintendent Paul Hartsig.

Northern Construction’s proposed bid falls in line with the costs the district had anticipated for the project. The project will create a 1,500-foot extension of Riverside to nearby Mathews Street, creating a second access point for vehicles entering or exiting the middle school.

“It’s a lot of money, but it’s something we really think is necessary, and will increase the safety and security of our students and staff,” Hartsig said.

Serious discussions about creating a second roadway for the middle school has been in talks for years; district administrators have been working with engineers with Wightman and Associates since the beginning of the year to get the project off the ground.

The area surveying firm will oversee the estimated two-month construction of the roadway, along with district Maintenance Supervisor John Juroff.

“Our goal is to wrap up building as soon as possible before school starts, so that there will be no disruptions,” Hartsig said.

The district plans on meeting with representatives with Northern Construction to discuss final details for the project within the next few weeks, with construction beginning shortly thereafter, Hartsig said.

“The groundwork has been laid,” Hartsig said. “The time is right to move forward and get the project done. It will be a benefit to the public and to our students and staff at the middle school. We’re excited to get this project going.”