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Lansing Schools is breaking ground on a new Willow Elementary on the city’s north side

LANSING — Lansing leaders donned hard hats and brandished shovels Monday to officially begin construction on a new Willow Elementary School on the city’s north side.

The groundbreaking ceremony at a site along Ontario Street was marked by a lectern, heavy earth-moving equipment and a sign reading “Fall 2026” as the opening date for the new K-8 school.

The sign also publicly thanked voters for their 2022 support for a $129.7 million bond proposal to rebuild four Lansing schools, including Willow, and fund other renovations in the district.

Lansing School District Superintendent Ben Shuldiner was joined by school board members, Mayor Andy Schor and others for the groundbreaking event.

“This is where Willow Elementary has been for many, many years,” Shuldiner said. “And what you are going to see now is a new Willow – a Willow that is modern, a Willow that is special, a Willow that will take our students to the next level of their education.

“These types of new schools are what our children deserve. It is what our community deserves,” he added.

The 25-year bond approved in 2022 secured the reconstruction of Mt. Hope STEAM Magnet School, Willow Elementary, Lewton School and Sheridan Road STEM Magnet School.

The first track for a new Mt. Hope School, 1215 E. Mt. Hope Ave., near the intersection of Shubel Avenue, took place in August, and Shuldiner said Monday that the school should be open in about a year.

Willow’s classes take place at Riddle Elementary School due to the demolition and planned replacement of the building constructed in the early 1950s.

“It is truly an honor to be part of this exciting new chapter for Willow Elementary School,” said Willow Principal Nicole Beard. “Our children certainly deserve it, and we thank you very much for trusting us to do what is right for our children and for the community.

“So I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Contact editor Susan Vela at [email protected] or 248-873-7044. Follow her on Twitter @susanvela.