By Jeff Harrison
The Mid-Del school district is moving forward with a $130.6 million bond election to address building maintenance, textbooks, technology and transportation needs.
The school board on Wednesday morning agreed to send two propositions to voters on Oct. 10. The first proposition includes $121.3 million for upgrades to the football fields, performing arts centers, elementary school additions, educational materials and others. The second is a $9.3 million proposal for transportation. The board unanimously approved the resolution 4-0 during a special meeting. Board member Tim Blanton was absent.
School superintendent Rick Cobb said the bond package was carefully crafted to address a number of issues throughout the district. Cobb met with teachers and administrators at each school site and hosted three community meetings.
“Everything that came up during our bond talks with the schools and during our community forums we made a priority to carve out a place for in this bond,” Cobb said. “If the bond passes, we’ll see a lot of construction but we’re also going to see a lot of upgrades in terms of materials that we have to provide instruction and just the overall learning environment for our students.”
Board member David Bibens thanked Cobb and district staff for their work and for including storm shelters at Schwartz and Pleasant Hill elementaries, which sit on the far edges of the district.
“I’m especially pleased that we’re going to far reaches of the district so our kids don’t have to get on buses and drive,” Bibens said.
The bond issue will be funded with 10-year lease revenue bonds. The new bonds would replace existing ones, which are set to expire within the next few years. Cobb said the bond issue would not increase taxes for patrons.
If approved, a large portion of the funds would be used to improve and eventually consolidate middle schools. The district plans to reduce the number of middle schools from five to three. Each middle school would then serve as a feeder for one of the three district high schools.
The plan calls for Kerr Middle School to become the sole feeder school for Del City High School and Monroney Middle School as a feeder to Midwest City High School. Carl Albert Middle School is the only middle school that feeds into Carl Albert High School.
The bond proposal would add classroom space, storm shelters and athletic facility upgrades to Carl Albert Middle School, Kerr and Monroney. The additions to Kerr and Monroney would allow for future expansion at each school. Cobb said they are hoping to re-purpose Jarman Middle School for the Career Academy, Central enrollment and parking for Rose Field. The district does not have firm plans for the future of Del Crest Middle School.
The shift to three middle schools would likely take place starting in 2020.
All three high school football stadiums would be upgraded under the bond proposal. Midwest City High School’s Rose Field would require the most work with $8.8 million planned for locker rooms, restrooms, bleachers, concession stand, ticket booth, press box upgrades and expansion of the running track.
Del City’s Robert Kalsu Stadium would receive $4.6 million for new home bleachers, improvements to the restrooms, concession stands, locker rooms, new ramps for the band and home locker room and press box upgrades. Carl Albert’s Jim Harris Stadium would receive $4.6 million for improvements to the restrooms, locker rooms, concession stands, expanded home bleachers. All three stadiums would also receive new turf.
The bond proposal would also include about $12 million in upgrades for the high school performing arts centers. The work would include a remodel/addition to the lobby, ticket booth, concession areas as well as sound and lighting upgrades. Carl Albert also needs upgrades to the boiler and chiller system and remodeling/addition to the band, orchestra and drama rooms.
About $12.2 million would be allotted for projects at elementary schools. The list includes: expansion of the Parkview cafeteria, Townsend ADA compliant/improvements, Cleveland Bailey drainage improvement, Schwartz addition with new classrooms, gymnasium, office suite, music room, parking and storm shelter, and a standalone storm shelter at Pleasant Hill Elementary.
Other district-wide projects would include air condition at the gyms and field houses, new school marques, roofing, flooring among others.