BALDWIN — Administration and staff at Baldwin Community Schools are making strides to prepare youth for the future, and with an increasing demand in STEM science, technology, engineering and mathematics-based careers, they are hoping the community will support updated Science labs by approving the school bond proposal in the May 8 election.

“Currently we are preparing students for jobs of the future in yesterday’s science labs,” said Superintendent Stiles Simmons, adding the science labs at the Baldwin Junior and Senior High School haven’t been updated since the junior high was built in 1954 and the high school in 1959.

“We certainly need state-of-the-art Science labs to prepare our students for STEM-based careers,” he said. “Across Michigan there is a need for more medical scientists, biochemists, environmental scientists and environmental protection technicians. Across the nation, there is a call for petroleum engineers, which has an average salary of $102,000 to $176,000. Chemical engineering also is a job with high demand with an average salary of $69,000 to $116,000. These are just a few of the jobs that are STEM-based.”

The millage funds would provide a complete renovation of the science labs, updated equipment and furniture.

Science teacher Nicole McGahey said there is a need for upgrades.

“We need to update our labs so they are more dependable. The back of my science room is crowded and it would be nice to have better flow to make it safer. We need a lab which keeps up with the times. It would be nice to have water faucets which turn off. We have a couple faucets which drip,” she said, adding the fume hood also malfunctioned before someone donated a fume hood in working order.

The proposal is asking taxpayers in the school district to borrow a sum not to exceed $9.91 million over a 16-year period for upgrades at the school. If the bond proposal is approved, it will allow for immediate upgrades to improve learning conditions and safety. The bond dollars also will help the district address future needs such as heating equipment, roofing systems and plumbing and electrical infrastructures.

Voters will be asked to approve a .92 mill increase over the prior year’s levy for the proposed bonds in 2018 ($0.92 for every $1,000 of taxable valuation). A homeowner with a taxable value of $20,000 can expect to approximately pay an additional $19 a year ($1.58 a month).