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      Smooth transition for Marquette schools realignment

      Last year elementary schools in Marquette were overcrowded and inconsistent.

      â??We had different grade configurations at different schoolsâ?? said Bill Saunders, Superintendent of Marquette Area Public Schools. â??We had K-3 elementary, K-4 elementary, K-5 elementary, so we were inconsistent within the district.â??

      Now, all that has changed.

      â??We tried to create more space in our elementary schools using our existing footprintâ?? said Saunders. â??So what we did was moved our alternative high school to our Vandenboom Child Development Center and then we converted Graveraet to a K-5 elementary school.â??

      The alternative high school used to occupy the second floor of Graveraet, now it is at the Vandenboom building.

      â??It was just way too large of a space for our programâ?? said Andrew Crunkleton, Vandenboom principal. â??It did not match our needs and this home is much better for us.â??

      Adding a fourth elementary school in the district has cut the number of students per building from around 400 to 300.

      â??It has just transformed this building into a beautiful place for little people to learn and growâ?? said Dr. Sarah Kemppainen, Graveraet principal. â??It has been an amazing transition.â??

      Kids at Graveraet Elementary are pretty excited about what comes with their new school.

      â??The favorite thing for all of our students here is that the elementary students first through fifth grade have lockers and that is a big dealâ?? said Kemppainen. â??They love their lockers.â??

      Making Graveraet an elementary school did require the addition of some new staff members, but building utility costs are the same. Surprisingly, bus transportation costs went down.

      â??We have less bus routes because we created another attendance area where more kids are able to walk to schoolâ?? said Saunders.

      The realignment will prepare the district for future growth.

      â??We should be able to fit and accommodate future large class sizes if they come and hopefully they doâ?? said Saunders.