The entrance to Andrew G. Schmidt Middle School (AGS) will be moved to the front of the building facing Shiawassee avenue. The current plan is for construction to begin in the summer of 2020, finishing by fall of 2021. The idea was proposed by Joe Humpert, Operations Director of Fenton Public Schools, in 2018.
“The initial goal was to break ground in late summer of 2019,” Superintendent Adam Hartley said. “We can’t move forward until the business owners of Target and other stores in that complex and the City of Fenton work on zoning and finalization. We are now hoping to break ground this summer, so we are looking at finishing in the fall of ‘21.”
For the past few years, AGS has been in need of more classrooms. The addition of a new, larger entrance will provide extra space for these classrooms. A conference room is also being added where the old office was located, along with a special education room and four new classrooms.
“The cost started at 3.2 million dollars,” Hartley said, “however we have got the price down already, and continue to work with the architect and engineers to get it to where we want, which is just over 2 million dollars. The property by Owen Road is selling for about 1.3 million and that money will be going towards the new entrance.”
AGS is a very open building, in the sense that when someone walks in, he or she has access to most of the areas in the school. The new office will be laid out in a way that forces a visitor to go through the main office before gaining access to the rest of the building.
“Currently, if you don’t voluntarily report to the office, you can get in the building unmonitored,” AGS principal Eric Rettenmund said. “Fortunately everybody complies and reports to the main office, but you really don’t have to because right when you walk in you could go to the cafeteria or to the gym. You pretty much have access to the whole building without going to the main office.”
The construction plans emerged out of a concern for design safety. A direct entrance into the main office will provide closer monitoring of people when they enter the building.
“I believe having this entrance will give us more protection in AGS, putting up a preventive layer,” Student Resource Officer Tom Cole said. “The new entrance can also help visitors know where to go because of how open the current entrance is.”
The Board of Education approved the action and budget November 5, 2018. In the meantime, he current main entrance will still be used as a way to enter the building, but will be locked during the day and open in the evening for athletics.