The Edmond Sun

December 2, 2007

Classrooms top school needs list

$28.9 million bond election set for Dec. 11

Patty Miller

EDMOND — Edmond voters will be asked to go to the polls Dec. 11 and vote for a $28.9 million bond package broken into two propositions.

Proposition No. 1 lists 14 items including $28 million for classroom additions and school improvements, the purchase of land for future school sites and the purchase of computers, software and support systems. Proposition No. 2 for $900,000 is earmarked for transportation including the purchase of buses.

“While no new schools are included within the slate of projects, the provision of additional elementary and middle school classrooms is a significant focus of this bond issue,” Superintendent David Goin said.

Some of the money will go toward early childhood development with the addition of pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. Even though the state has touted a 4-year-old education program, many school districts like Edmond still are phasing the program in due to lack of classroom space.

If passed, part of the bond money also will be used to add classrooms to four elementary and one middle school as well as kitchens at two of the elementary schools.

“Some of the schools are completely full,” Associate Superintendent of District Operations Bret Towne said. “Charles Haskell Elementary School is our largest and fastest-growing school with more than 900 students.

“We added 11 rooms two years ago and the children are out in the portable buildings again.”

Northern Hills Elementary has seven portables and Chisholm Elementary has three portables. The district has more than 50 portables buildings at all levels, elementary, middle school and high school.

“All of the portable buildings we own are in use,” Towne said, “and in addition we are renting others.”

There are drawbacks to portable classrooms including no restrooms, heat and air are window units and it is hard to keep the units secure after school hours.

Centennial Elementary, the district’s newest school, opened this year with a projected enrollment of 400 students.

“Two weeks ago Centennial’s enrollment was 499,” Towne said. “We have the students in every open room including the computer rooms, music room and special education classrooms.”

Neither Northern Hills nor Chisholm elementaries have a kitchen on-site.

“We are continuing a long-range plan to improve elementary school cafeterias,” Goin said. “This year our plans are to provide full preparation kitchen facilities for Chisholm and Northern Hills schools. Currently, food is prepared off-site and then brought to the school and (re)heated prior to serving.”

Among other items on Proposition No. 1 is the purchase of land.

“Because land in the Edmond area is constantly increasing in cost and becoming harder to find, the school board wants to plan accordingly for additional school sites where population growth is anticipated,” said Edmond School Board President Jamie Underwood.

“We are looking at a new elementary building within the next three to four years and an additional middle school after that,” she said. “We project we will be breaking ground for a new high school in perhaps the next 10 years.”

Ongoing projects for which funding is again requested, include areas such as technology, security, roof replacement, and media, fine arts, athletics and science equipment.

“Edmond voters have passed every school bond issue since 1959,” Towne said, “and we are hoping they will see the need to also pass this one.” | 341-2121, ext. 171

The Details

What you need to know

Proposition No. 1

1. Provide for improvements to district to include, but not be limited to, purchasing and installing computers, computer software, technology, technology related equipment, phone systems and technology related support services. $2.5 million

2. Provide improvements to North HS and Cross Timbers ES, to include the continuation of the repairing and replacing of the roof. $900,000

3. Provide for improvements to Central MS, Cimarron MS, Summit MS to purchase and install security devices and cameras, security doors and lock systems. $100,000

4. Provide improvements and purchase of athletic and fine arts equipment, at district high schools and middle schools, purchasing science equipment, library/media center books, instructional materials and/or equipment at all school sites. $900,000

5. Improve existing Agriculture Education facility by demolishing existing animal barns and building new animal barns and pens. $400,000

6. Purchasing land for future school sites. $1 million

7. Centennial ES, eight classrooms planned. $2.2 million

8. Charles Haskell ES, constructing and equipping six classrooms planned. $2 million

9. Chisholm ES, nine classrooms planned, a kitchen and restrooms, replace existing blacktop, expansion to office area and construction of a front entrance to the facility. $3.6 million

10. Improve Cross Timbers ES by redesign and replacement of certain roads and road entrances. $300,000

11. Improve Clyde Howell Center by constructing and equipping a building to house special education staff and renovation of office and meeting space and additional parking areas. To include replacing certain roof fascia and exterior windows. $2 million

12. Northern Hills ES 12 classrooms planned and kitchen, upgrading/remodeling vacated office spaces into classrooms, constructing a new entrance and office area and constructing a fire lane. $4.7 million

13. Sequoyah MS constructing and equipping eight classrooms planned and remodeling/refurbishing classrooms, remodeling/refurbishing existing media center and home arts area. $3.9 million

14. Improve existing Memorial HS auditorium by constructing addition to the entrance, remodeling the interior replacing the existing seating, sound system, certain lighting systems and installing fire and security equipment. $3.5 million

Total Proposition No. 1: $28 million

Proposition No. 2

Purchase transportation equipment including seven large school buses, three special education buses and two fleet Suburbans. $900,000

Total bond propositions: $28.9 million

SOURCE: Edmond Public Schools