Clean, bright hallways with new lighting. The smell of new carpets. Updated technology. Renovated rest rooms. Improved athletic fields and new gym bleachers and floors.

For the past eight years, the back to school tradition for Utica Community Schools has also meant that students are returning to bond issue-funded improvements that add to the excitement of a new school year.

The improvements this summer – more than 60 at schools across the district – continue the projects set into motion when voters approved a $112.5 million bond issue in 2009.

While some of the work is behind the scenes infrastructure or mechanical improvements, the goal of the projects is the same – well maintained, safe schools for all students. 

“UCS residents invest in our schools with the understanding that we will meet their high expectations for academic excellence in all areas,” Superintendent Dr. Christine Johns said. “Thanks to their support, the district continues to provide our staff the tools and environment to support student achievement.”

By law, bond issue funds can be used only for capital improvements authorized by voters. The bond issue funds may not be used to support day-to-day operations of the school district, such as staffing or utility costs.

As approved by voters, 2009 bond issue projects are focused on three key areas: addressing building safety and infrastructure needs identified through long-range planning, creating parity between district schools and upgrading technology.

Summer 2017 bond issue projects at sites throughout the district include select areas for replacement of flooring, roofs, gym and bleachers, classroom cabinets and counter tops, sidewalks and parking lots. The projects also include sites with needed upgrades in heating and cooling and athletic fields.

The bond funds are also supporting the purchase of technology. At the early elementary level, the district is replacing iPads for a nationally-recognized personalized blended learning model. At the secondary level, new laptops will support a pilot program at three junior high schools that develops skills for computer coding. The district is one of the first in the nation to partner with the to ensure UCS graduates meet the growing job market in programming and computer science. 

The 2009 bond issue projects will be completed during the 2017-2018 school year. Since its approval by voters, the bond issue has funded improvements that have impacted every UCS classroom and school.

Major projects supported through the bond issue have included:

  • A phone and camera identification system with locked door for visitors at the entrances at all schools;
  • Infrastructure and mechanical improvements across the district, including new lighting, flooring, carpeting, high school rest rooms, replacement of parking lot areas and roofing;
  • Upgrading the district’s network to provide greater capacity and speed for wireless access;
  • Projects that create parity among the district’s 36 schools, including such areas as media centers, auxiliary gyms and electronic collaborative classrooms.

Morgan and the 2009 Bond Issue
Major Highlights




Create Parity
among Schools

Improve Safety
and Building

 Install Technology to support restricted access at school entrances X   X
 Install interactive whiteboard technology X X  
 Replace media center computers X X  
 Replace select areas of the roof based no district overall maintenance plan     X
 Purchase new computer notebooks and iPads  X X  
Shelby Junior High School

 Purchase new computer notebooks X    
 Complete roofing projects, as identified through replacement plan   X X
 Heating and Cooling Improvements     X
 Replace Fire Alarm      X
 Classroom Lighting Improvements   X X
 Install technology to support restricted access at school entrance  X    X

Malow Junior High School

New Auxiliary Gym


Purchase new computer notebooks


Gym improvements (lighting, bleachers, and floor resurfacing)

Sidewalk and Parking Lot Improvements

 X  X  
Replacement Flooring in Cafeteria Area

Replace Existing Ceiling Tile, Fire Alarm and Light Fixture Replacement


Replace water meter


Install technology to support restricted access at school entrance



Eisenhower High School

Upgrade science room




Renovate restrooms



Improve security camera system



Secure Entrance

 x  x  
Rest Room Renovations

Flooring and Casework

   X  X

Replace running Track


All schools

Replace technology infrastructure to provide high speed and high density wireless network access




Secure entrances at all schools 

Replacement of Roofs as identified in long-range planning process


Replace buses districtwide as part of
12-year cycle