Traverse City Record-Eagle

October 11, 2013

Forum: Positive milestones in Grand Traverse area

Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — Communities that continue to enjoy positive growth, employment opportunities and overall quality of life have positive milestones in their history. We are fortunate that the Grand Traverse area has benefited from the community coming together to create and support positive, long-term initiatives. The results are milestones that have generated positive momentum for many decades and will render positive dividends for our community for decades to come.


n An outstanding community college created for our area in 1951.

n The splitting off of the State Hospital and establishment of the James Decker Munson Hospital in 1925.

n The foresight to design a foundation for oil income generated on land owned by the Rotary Club, resulting in the formation of Rotary Charities in 1976.

n Voter support in 1997 to build a second high school giving rise to Traverse City West High School.

The above-mentioned have been critical in solidifying our area as one of the most livable communities in the country.

On Nov. 5, we will be faced with two proposals asking for support of our public schools. One is to support districtwide technology upgrades, bus replacement, and elementary infrastructure.

The second is for funding to reconstruct Traverse City Central High School’s auditorium. When the community voted to create the second high school, it was known in advance that the school would be state of the art and primarily serve children on the west side of town.

This high school has served us well. It has given students increased opportunities to participate in reasonable class sizes rather than unmanageable 800-plus classes that existed in our previous one high school system. The addition of West allowed students throughout Traverse City to have greater opportunities to participate and compete in academic, art, music and athletic programs. Without the positive community vote to create Traverse City West, these key learning experiences would have been lost.

It’s once again time for the community to cast an equitable “yes” vote and bring the facilities at the older Central auditorium to an equal standard enjoyed by those at West.

The present facility at Central is at the end of its useful life with many deficiencies:

n No on-site lighting equipment

n No orchestra pit

n Staging too small for the number of students interested in participating

n Deplorable, limited seating

It took a concerned citizenry to cast a “yes” vote in 1997 to create two high schools. Now we must be equally as concerned and foresighted and maintain equal facilities for all TCAPS students.

The undersigned had the privilege to work in a leadership positions in millages that led to the construction of our second high school in 1997. We believe the “yes” votes in those elections were proud milestones in our community’s history. We urge you to vote “yes” on TCAPS Proposal 2 Nov. 5, 2013.

About the authors: Ralph Cerny, Diane Portenga and Jim Dutmers are all long-term residents of the Traverse City area. Their children graduated from TCAPS and they all have grandchildren enrolled in the system at both East and West. In addition to careers, they participated in endeavors to advance the arts, community health, academics and athletics. All three served on the committee that advocated for the construction of Traverse City West Senior High School.

About the forum: The forum is a periodic column of opinion written by Record-Eagle readers in their areas of expertise. Submissions of 500 words or less may be made by emailing Please include biographical information and a photo.