Orion pre-k center one step closer

Mindy Carls
Orion High School

As required by laws before the Orion school district can issue $5.5 million in working cash bonds, the school board held a hearing on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

The money is to be used to expand space for the early learning program at C.R. Hanna Elementary School, board president Peter Nedved said.

Superintendent Joe Blessman said the trailer now used for pre-kindergarten classes must be replaced.

The new facility, which will include a STEM lab all C.R. Hanna students can use, is expected to cost about $2 million, Blessman said. It should be completed for fall 2022, or maybe spring semester 2023.

Other projects to be funded with the working cash bond sale include:

• Secured entryways at C.R. Hanna and Orion High School. Anyone entering either building would go into the office before going into an area where students are.

• C.R. Hanna restrooms.

• New HVAC equipment at Orion Middle School. The district could use COVID-19 money for this project.

• Replacement windows.

The board will vote on issuing the bonds at its next meeting at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, a week later than usual.


The board accepted the resignation of Orion High School cook Shelley Bird, effective immediately.

Board members also approved volunteer coaches for OHS, including Daniel Cline and Colin Hepner, boys soccer; Logan Hohl, cross country; Mike Rascher, boys golf; Tori Hohl, Shelly Hutton and Samantha Jankowski volleyball, and Jamee Sovey, band and flags.

The board hired John Crose as an assistant football coach at Orion Middle School.

Board members approved hiring Shannon Merrill and Michael Helms as morning and afternoon bus drivers and Pamela Jackson as the Area Career Center bus driver.

Jennifer Bakener was hired as the National Honor Society advisor.

Nedved noted Blessman has served as superintendent for five years.

In other business

• Nathan Ray told the board his son had difficulty wearing his mask when he became overheated during a bus ride. He asked the district to have bus drivers turn on air conditioning.

• Autumn Manning, representing Orion Music Boosters, said “Avengers” is the theme of the 2021 marching band show. The band and color guard have new uniforms.

• The district has released the Orion school district’s app, available for mobile phones. It includes schedules and lunch menus.

• Summer maintenance projects still to be completed include parking lot repairs, a new fire panel at OHS, deadlock bolts on classroom doors, new OMS hallway lights, and a new emergency battery backup for OHS.

• Board members approved the Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Orion Education Association, as well as salary increases for administrators and non-union, non-certified employees such as office personnel, custodians, bus drivers and cooks.

• The district placed the tentative 2021-22 budget on display in the superintendent’s office until 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 22, when the board will adopt it.