Montessori Construction Information

July 21, 2021 Update

View pictures of the new Montessori school that were presented at the July 2021 Board Finance and Operations Committee meeting. PDF DocumentView pictures here.

May 5, 2021 Update

View the May 2021 PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Construction Update presented at the May 5 2021, Board Finance and Operations Committee meeting. Video DocumentView the meeting here.

Tentative Construction Schedule

 (subject to change upon need and/or group availability)

Construction Package Out for Bid

  • January 18, 2021

Bids Due

  • February 9, 2021

Post Bid Interviews

  • February 10-19, 2021

Award Recommendations

  • March 1, 2021

Board Finance and Operations Meeting

  • March 3, 2021

Board of Education Meeting

  • March 8, 2021

Estimated Construction Start

  • April 2021

Estimated Construction Completion

  • August 2022

Anticipated Student Occupancy

  • September  2022

March 8, 2021 Update

The Board of Education approves TCAPS Montessori construction bids. View the Video DocumentMarch 8, 2021, Board of Education meeting and the PDF DocumentMontessori construction presentation

February 17, 2021 Update

View the February 2021 PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Construction Update presented at the February 17, 2021, Board Finance and Operations Committee meeting. Video DocumentView the meeting here.

January 6, 2021 Update

View the January 2021 PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Construction Update presented at the January 6, 2021, Board Finance and Operations Committee meeting. Video DocumentView the meeting here.

December 2, 2020 Update

View the December 2020  PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Construction Update presented at the December 2, 2020, Board Finance and Operations Committee meeting. 

November 4, 2020 Update

View the November 2020  PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Construction Update presented at the November 4, 2020, Board Finance and Operations Committee meeting. 

Virtual Montessori Family Update - October 29th

TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis families will be provided a virtual update on the construction process on Thursday, October 29, 2020, at 5:30 PM. Specific information on how to access the virtual meeting will be emailed to families prior to the meeting. 

View Video DocumentMontessori Parent Meeting Video 10.29.20 here.

October 12, 2020 Update

View the October 2020,  PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Construction Update presented at the October 21, 2020, Board of Education meeting. 

August 20, 2020 Update

View the August 20, 2020,  PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Early Site Work Package Update presented at the August 21st Board Finance/Operations Committee meeting. 

August 5, 2020 Update

View the PDF DocumentTCAPS Montessori Building Process Updates for August 2020.

May 21, 2020 Update

View the May 21, 2020, Virtual Meeting Recap: PDF DocumentParent Question & Answer Presentation

May 14, 2020 Update

View the PDF DocumentMontessori Update Presentation shared at the May 14th Board of Education Meeting. 

March 3, 2020 Update

Message from Interim Superintendent Pavelka to Montessori Families & Staff

As I shared with you at the end of last month, we have been working on developing a timeline for the Montessori construction project. I am pleased to report that we have a preliminary calendar set, the details of which you can see below.  

Throughout the process, we will be providing updates to Montessori families and staff both through email communication and in-person meetings. In addition, we will be meeting with various stakeholders and experts as we work to design and build a school to support the Montessori philosophy in an environmentally responsible manner.

TCAPS Montessori School Tentative Construction Schedule

 (subject to change upon need and/or group availability)

Schematic Design: 2/11/20 - 6/8/20

  • Meetings with Architects & Construction Manager: 02/25/20
  • Review with Montessori Principal & Teacher Team: 03/13/20
  • Review with Township Officials, Road Commission, etc.: 03/23/20 - 05/08/20
  • Review with Watershed, Tart Trails, etc.: 03/23/20 - 05/08/20
  • Meetings with MO Principal & Teacher Team: 04/13/20 - 04/27/20
  • Meetings with MO Staff & Parents: 04/27/20 - 05/08/20
  • Meetings with Operational Staff (MEP): 04/27/20
  • Develop Schematic Design Cost Estimate: 05/18/20 - 06/05/20
  • Follow-up Meetings with MO Staff & Parents: 05/20/20
  • Review Schematic Design: 06/03/20
  • Board Finance Operations Committee Meeting: 06/03/20
  • Board of Education Meeting: 06/08/20

Design Development:  6/9/20 - 9/14/20

  • Develop Design Documents: 06/09/20 - 08/28/20
  • Initial Finishes Review: 06/29/20
  • Meeting with MO Principal & Teacher Team: 06/29/20 - 07/03/20
  • Meeting with MO Staff & Parents: 06/29/20 - 07/03/20
  • 50% Design Development: 07/13/20
  • Meeting with Operational Staff (MEP): 07/15/20
  • Update Cost Estimate: 08/10/20 - 08/28/20
  • Review Design Development Documents: 08/31/20
           w/Updated Cost Estimate  
  • Board Finance & Operations Committee Meeting: 09/02/20
  • Board of Education Meeting: 09/14/20

Construction Documents: 09/15/20 - 12/21/20

Pre-Construction: 01/04/21 - 02/22/21

Construction:  03/01/21 - 06/24/22

Occupancy: 06/27/22 - 07/01/22

LARA Inspections: 07/01/22 - 07/15/22

Staff Move-In: 07/01/22 - 08/12/22

February 21, 2020 Update

Montessori Families and Staff, 

First, I want to thank all stakeholders for providing their input into the visioning and site selection process for the new TCAPS Montessori school. Second, I want to share with you that we will be meeting next week with the district’s architects, construction manager, and administrative staff to put together a timeline for the building project. The timeline will be shared with staff and parents upon completion. 

After the general project timeline is developed and we begin to move into the design phase of the project, we will be working closely with Garfield Township, The Watershed Center, environmental groups, and other vested parties. Our goal will be to ensure that best practices in design and construction are utilized, so that we are good stewards of our environment. The children will be the benefactors of our collective efforts.


Jim Pavelka
Interim Superintendent
Traverse City Area Public Schools

February 11, 2020 Update

Email from Directress VanLoo to Staff and Families:

Last night, the Board of Education voted to approve Franke Road as the location for the new TCAPS Montessori school. We appreciate everyone who was involved in the process, attended meetings, and advocated for their preferred option. This was not a decision that any individual Board member made without careful consideration and thoughtful preparation, as was clear from their discussion (link to view below). We appreciate the amount of time they spent listening to stakeholders representing various viewpoints and perspectives prior to their vote. We also recognize that no decision was going to make all parties happy. With the decision made, we hope that all will join us to build upon the positive momentum of what our program is today, and what it has the power to become tomorrow, and 50 years from now.   

February 3, 2020 Montessori Task Force Update

View the PDF Document2-3-20 Montessori Task Force Committee Meeting Presentation shared at the February 3rd Board Montessori Task Force Committee meeting. 

January 29, 2020 Update

Montessori PTO Meeting/City of Traverse City Presentation from Russ Soyring - Held on January 28, 2020

City Presentation

PDF DocumentView the presentation that was prepared and presented by Mr. Soyring, City Planning Director, at the January 28th meeting. 

Questions and Answers

Q:  Have you considered underground parking options?  

A:  Yes, TCAPS has discussed this, the cost is prohibitive.

Q:  At what point did the City staff decide to allow TCAPS to present two options to the City Commission for a vote?  

A:  City staff indicated on Friday, January 24, 2020, that the district can take a couple options to the City Commission for a vote.  


Q:  What is the timeline if this goes to the commission?  

A:  Unknown.


Q:  Principal VanLoo, are you concerned with the rendering presented on 14th and Pine? 

A:   The only 14th/Pine Street rendering that I believe would allow for full inclusion of the Montessori curriculum and visioning needs (including number of classrooms and classroom size), as well as the priority of safety and security is the one that was proposed by TCAPS, which was denied by the City. The renderings that were shared at the meeting by the City with their adjustments (including a road running through the school campus, reduction of parking, rerouting traffic/traffic flow for carline, and changing the entrance of the main office) do not meet the needs for safety and security.


Q:  Mr. Soyring, would you support the option presented by the district in order to keep the school in the City?

A:  This is not a preferred option, but we would prefer to keep the school in the City limits.  


Q:  How can Montessori parents get their voices heard by the City Commissioners?

A:  Attend City Commission meetings, and/or contact them directly.


Q:  How is the vacation of Vine Street for the Catholic schools different than the vacation of Griffin Street?

A:  An agreement was made between the City and the Catholic school that if they vacated 2nd Street they had to open a new, public street to the North.


Q:  When will the City’s Master Plan be reviewed again?

A:  It was last updated in 2017 and the commission decided at their retreat this past weekend to update the plan again.


Q:  How can the City put a “future” building on property they do not own?

A:  It is a suggestion by the City because they do not want to see a parking lot along 14th Street.


Q:  How can other voices be heard and included in the Board Montessori Task Force?

A:  The purpose of the large group Visioning Committee in January 2019 was to get community input that the Task Force can use in the decision making process.  The Task Force is an ad hoc committee of board members to make a recommendation regarding the project to the full board. Public Comment is included on the Task Force agenda to allow the community to provide further input.   


Q:  Has the rendering on the current site been vetted with Montessori staff?

A:  The rendering on the current site was requested by the staff earlier this month, they saw the rendering for the first time last week.  Further discussion will take place soon.


Q:  Can you put a public input forum on the district website for feedback before the February 3 meeting?  

A:  We can look into that, but it is recommended that you provide public comment at board meetings and send emails to the Task Force members.


Q:  What is the percentage of students that walk to school now?

A:  Approximately 10-15%.


Q:  What is the percentage of students that drive from out of the district?

A:  Approximately 11% reside outside the district boundary.


Next Steps:  

  • February 3, 2020, at 4:30 pm - Montessori Task Force Meeting
  • February 10, 2020, at 6:00 pm - Board Meeting

January 23, 2020 Update

We hosted a meeting on Tuesday, January 21, 2020, to provide an update on the status of our new building. Below are the resources that were used/referenced during this meeting:

An updated timeline was also shared by Associate Superintendent for Finance and Operations, Christine Thomas-Hill. She will be reviewing all of the data gathered with the Board’s Montessori Taskforce, which, along with Interim Superintendent Jim Pavelka, is expected to make a recommendation to the full Board of Education at the February 10th Board meeting.

As the agenda for the PTO meeting was not covered on Tuesday, we have scheduled a make-up PTO meeting for January 28, 2020, from 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Additionally, immediately following the PTO meeting, per the request of some of the parents in attendance on Tuesday, we have invited Russ Soyring, Planning Director for the City of Traverse City, to attend to present information about the City’s Master Plan for the Fourteenth Street Corridor on Tuesday, January 28, 2020, beginning at 6:00 p.m. in the Library. Thank you to Mr. Soyring for graciously accepting this invitation. Following the presentation, we will have time for Q&A. Question cards will be available for attendees to submit prior to the start of the Q&A session. 

As a reminder, information and updates will continue to be added to the Montessori Reconstruct webpage as the project progresses. 

December 2019 Update

Adjusted Timeline for Occupancy 2022

  • Decision on location by February 2020
  • Finish schematic design by April 2020
  • Finish design development by July 2020
  • Finish construction documents by December 2020
  • Bid/award contract by February 20221
  • Start construction in April 2021
  • Occupy building by July 2022

September 27, 2019 Update

Montessori Reconstruction Project Delayed

Due to a number of constraints that have arisen during the design phase of the project for the new Montessori school on 14th Street, it has become clear that completion of the building by 2021 will not be possible. 

As you may remember, TCAPS engaged in visioning sessions with Montessori staff and families to aid in the decision as to the desired location of the school, the grade levels it would serve, and building design/curricular needs to accommodate the Montessori environment. It was necessary to make these decisions in February so the district could properly plan for occupancy in the fall of 2021. 

The TCAPS Board of Education unanimously approved the recommendation to serve toddler through eighth grade on the 14th Street location for the Montessori Reconstruction project at its February 11, 2019, meeting. Immediately thereafter, the district began working with the City and submitted a final design in June 2019 along with payment for a review of the district’s application for the vacation of Griffin Street. On Monday, September 23, 2019, the district received notification that the first phase of the process (City staff review) to vacate Griffin Street was not supported. 

In addition to the City’s response, as the design and construction team has been developing a plan for the school, several constraints have been identified. For information regarding the constraints to the project and/or other potential impacts, see additional information below.

We take the responsibility of school reconstruction very seriously. Given that the original target timeline is no longer feasible, the district intends to pause to take another look at all of the options available prior to determining next steps. We believe it is important to take the necessary time to get it right because we are tasked with building a school that will be there for at least the next 50 years, so this is an undertaking that must be done in a responsible manner. The Superintendent will work with the Board of Education to determine the appropriate review and decision-making structure going forward. Staff and families will be updated as this work progresses.

Additional Information



  • On Monday, February 11, 2019, the TCAPS Board of Education unanimously approved the recommendation to serve toddler through eighth grade on the 14th Street location for the Montessori Reconstruction project. 
  • Additional facility details at the time included: the school will be constructed to serve between 500-550 students, it is expected to be a two-story building with approximately 68,000 square feet of space, it will be designed with outside areas for gardens, a playground, a parking lot, and a designated pick-up/drop-off area. 
  • The decisions about the location and grade span in February were necessary so the district could plan for occupancy in the fall of 2021.
Current State and Considerations


  • During the process of working with the City on a street vacation request (Griffin Street), several potential issues and/or delays have come to the district’s attention.
  • The district began working with the City in February and submitted a final design in June 2019 along with payment for a review of the district’s application for the vacation of Griffin Street.
  • On Monday, September 23, 2019, the district received notification that the first phase of the process (City staff review) to vacate Griffin Street was not supported. In its response, the City stated that it is attempting to: “(1) maintain access to the neighborhoods inclusive of the school district; (2) protect the utility of the collector street (14th Street); (3) maintain the established trail connecting the Boardman Lake Loop Trail to future trails to the west which includes a connection to Traverse City West Middle School; and (4) eliminate large exposures of parking lots along the street, activating adjacent properties to a higher land use”.
  • In addition, the construction and design team has been developing the plan and/or design for the new TCAPS Montessori School on 14th Street and several constraints have been encountered. They are as follows: 
    • Storm Drainage & Capacity at Thirlby Field Campus: Existing site is at/or near capacity. The scope, cost and timeline to resolve this issue is unknown at this time.
    • Meeting the instructional needs of the school:
      • Without the vacation of Griffin Street, the limited site has eliminated the option for a “pod” structure, which is recommended for Montessori environments and was discussed with the Visioning Group.
      • Putting the building north of Griffin Street (rendering submitted by the City with letter dated 9/23/19) has shrunk the overall square footage possible for the building itself, this eliminates a classroom or reduces all classroom sizes to accommodate the same number of classrooms.
    • Meeting the safety needs of the school:
      • Two-way traffic by the dedicated drop off zone adds risk for cars dropping students off the wrong way, creating a situation where students can cross in front of cars without supervision.
      • Crossing Griffin Street to get to the playground (The City doesn’t have the authority to close portions of Griffin Street down during school hours.). Additionally, possible solutions like an overhead walkway is not feasible for a school because of state law. 
      • Sharing space with Thirlby Field. Currently the design option with the building north of Griffin St. is eliminating the entrance and gate off Griffin Street and puts the drop off lane on top of the sidewalk around the field.
    • Future Expansion:
      • Required building program maximizes the site and does not allow for any future expansion whether it continues as a Montessori school or not in the life expectancy of the building.
      • Completely landlocked by Pine, 13th, 14th, the stadium, and Griffin Street.
    • Relocating Existing Utilities:
      • Significant cost to relocate
      • Unknown schedule impact
      • Not currently supported by the City
    • Other impacts for the entire site related to the City’s site recommendation:
      • Limited number of parking spaces available onsite for the school, no dedicated parking for Thirlby Field activities, currently approximately 300-350 cars can park on our property, (210 facility use events for 2018).
      • Operational issues with snow plowing and snow storage in the winter, may increase costs if required to haul away.
      • Off-site/street parking will be required, causing increased congestion in the neighborhood, especially as more students begin the 7th and 8th grade options.
      • Northeast corner of the site is too small for the building program, will not fit as originally planned and pushes the car line into the flags and memorial at Thirlby.
      • Eliminates field access from the southeast corner, any new ticketing would have to occur in the center or on the southwest side.The north-south drive is two-way on the top third and one-way off 14th, adding a four way intersection.
      • The plan also creates more points of access, sidewalks from the building to the street-side sidewalk. 
      • Eliminates a practice/warm-up area for Thirlby Field.
      • Suggesting an additional building on the property, with no identified need.

How will the change in timeline impact the addition of the inclusion of the adolescent program?
TCAPS still intends to accept 7th graders at the current building location for the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, TCAPS expects to be able to accommodate the 8th graders in the current building for the 2021-2022 school year, by creatively using current building space in the short term. 


  • Christine Thomas-Hill, Associate Superintendent of Finance and Operations 
    Traverse City Area Public Schools
  • Christine Guitar, Executive Director of Communications 
    Traverse City Area Public Schools
  • Lisa VanLoo, Principal 
    TCAPS Montessori at Glenn Loomis

Page updated 05/05/21