WHITEHALL, Mich. - Students in Whitehall Public Schools started school last week, and as they begin a new school year, construction workers are finishing renovations and construction projects in the district.

The projects include renovations to the middle school and Ealy Elementary school, both of which are paid for by a bond approved by the district in 2016.

One final project -- the new Viking Athletic Complex -- will open to students and community members this fall.

"As we know, student engagement increases the more they participate in activities before and after school and during the school day," said Whitehall Superintendent Jerry McDowell. "Our hope is that we provide more opportunity for them to get involved and engaged in the school district and increase their performance."

The complex will have a turf practice field, two basketball courts and a walking track. The space will also be available for community activities, and it gives the Viking robotics team a space to practice for competitions.

The 2016 bond also paid for technology and safety improvements and resulted in a cohesive look to all of the district's buildings.

A community dedication for the athletic complex is being planned for this fall.

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