First phase of district-wide improvements to start construction spring 2016

In May, the Niles, Michigan, community approved two school improvement bonds totaling $40,070,000. Project design work commenced immediately after election day, and four of the district’s schools are already in the final design stage. Construction at Howard Ellis Elementary, Eastside Elementary, Ballard Elementary, and Ring Lardner Middle School is scheduled to begin early second quarter of 2016 and be complete in time for the fall 2017 school year.

Ballard Elementary is the district’s “newest” school facility, completed 50 years ago in 1965. The oldest is Eastside Elementary, built 77 years ago. Much needed improvements to these aging facilities will:

  • Address security, code, and accessibility issues to help ensure safety and security for students, staff and visitors.
  • Implement energy initiatives to improve operational efficiency, improve reliability, and create healthy environments.
  • Update technology to support 21st Century teaching and learning.


“Interim Superintendent Lindley and current Superintendent Applegate have both been very conscious of seeking community input and assessing needs versus wants. As a result, you can see that the scope of these projects is truly driven by community needs,”

says Skillman Vice President Mike Kounelis.

“As a construction manager, it is gratifying to transform facilities with significant needs into modern educational spaces. These projects will definitely have a positive impact on learning environments and on the community.”


The Niles project team includes construction manager The Skillman Corporation, architect TMP Architecture, and MEP engineer Peter Basso Associates. Skillman is also working with Kalamazoo Public Schools to complete the last phase of their 2013 Bond projects. This final phase provides site, facility, and classroom improvements, energy savings improvements, and technology upgrades.