December 22, 2014

LLC-Arenac students officially open multipurpose room

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted

The 45 students at the Bay-Arenac ISD Living & Learning Center in Arenac County (LLC-Arenac) will no longer need to use their small dining area as a gym and assembly room.

After a rousing school chant, and with a little assistance from the school’s faculty, the students led the way in the ribbon cutting ceremony which officially opened the building’s new multipurpose room.

The LLC-Arenac has been operating since April 2000, but until now had no dedicated space for school programs or student physical activities.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Bay-Arenac ISD Superintendent Michael Dewey in his remarks during the ceremony.

Teacher Gloria Anderson and Special Education Supervisor Patricia Barkell pushed the need for a multipurpose room, and the board of education agreed.

They applied for funds from the federal government and secured the money needed for the expansion.

Dewey said the $600,000 funding for the renovations came in the form of an interest-free loan from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, more commonly known as the 2009 stimulus package, to be paid off over the next 10 years in $16,000 increments.

In addition to the multipurpose room, Dewey said that the money has also been used to expand the LLC-Arenac parking lot and improve the drainage system. There are currently no plans for future expansion of the school, he added.

“I feel good about [the size],” he said.

At the ceremony, Barkell said the school will be able to hold assemblies with the students and perform the school chant monthly in the multipurpose room, in addition to using it to help teach positive behavior.

Bay-Arenac ISD Director of Special Education Deborah Kadish said that the students were present during the groundbreaking for the expansion started last year on a cold, rainy day; but despite the inclement weather, she believed it was important for the students to be there from the beginning of the work on the new room.

After the ceremony’s end, students and faculty members took parents and members of the community on a tour of the LLC-Arenac, showing the classrooms and some of the tools and equipment used to teach.

The school offers instructional services to its special needs student body, helping them learn things from how to do laundry and operate computers, to using high-tech touch screens to help teach how to count money accurately.

In the evening it also offers adult education classes, and Dewey said with the addition of the multipurpose room, the community will be able to “utilize this facility more than ever before.”

He also said that the room would also be available outside of the school for community use.

Though having a facility fully outfitted for their needs is important to the faculty, to Dewey, the students are the real winners here.

“It means a lot to us, but it means even more to the students,” Dewey said.

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