By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Mid-Del Schools held the final bond steering committee meeting last Thursday evening at the Mid-Del Technology Center.
The steering committee is comprised of school employees, parents, and community members. The group has met three times to provide feedback on the bond projects.
District officials discussed some of the large building projects under consideration for an upcoming bond election and provided rough cost estimates for other potential projects. Attendees were also asked to rank the projects during a group tabletop exercise.
Superintendent Rick Cobb said they are considering more than $235 million worth of potential bond projects, but they will need to narrow that list for an October election.
Some of the largest projects under consideration include multi-purpose facilities at each of the three high schools, classroom additions and construction of a new Townsend Elementary School.
Andy Collier, director of student activities, said the multipurpose facilities would benefit all sports, marching band, color guard, physical education, and youth sports.
“This is not just athletics and marching band that would benefit from it,” Collier said. “It will be used on a daily basis.”
Diana Williams, instructional facilitator for fine arts, said it will be used by students in fine arts and JROTC.
“It would definitely benefit several groups in the fine arts and not just the marching bands,” she said. “And it would let us have a space for banquets instead of having to rent another place.”
The multipurpose facilities would each be about 55,000 square feet with space for dressing rooms and storage. The buildings would not have heat or air conditioning but would be cooled by large fans.
Cobb said they would be built over existing turf practice fields at Carl Albert and Midwest City high schools. At Del City High School, the multipurpose facility would be located east of Robert Kalsu Stadium. The visitor seating would also be replaced as part of the proposal.
Classroom and building additions are also being considered for all three high schools.
At Carl Albert, plans would include a 27,700-square-foot classroom addition on the southwest corner of the school. The addition would include two floors and 12 classrooms.
Midwest City High School would receive a new fine arts addition that would be built between the Performing Arts Center and the main school building. It would include space for band, orchestra, choir and drama. Cobb said the current band room is located a long distance from the main school building.
Plans for Del City High School would include a band and orchestra addition that would connect to the performing arts center.
Cobb said they are looking at cafeteria and classroom space at Del City and Midwest City middle schools. The new classroom spaces would replace portable buildings.
“I’m always going to argue that portables should be a temporary need for classroom space, and we have some that have been in place for decades,” he said.
Another big project being discussed is a new Townsend Elementary School. Initial plans include building a new building behind the current school. Cobb said the district built new elementary schools in the Midwest City and Carl Albert regions in the past decade, but not Del City.
“When I go into Soldier Creek and Midwest City Elementary, your first thought should be that all of our kids deserve this,” he said.
Cobb said Townsend would not need to be as large as Midwest City Elementary and Soldier Creek.
There are also talks of a new indoor swimming facility. Cobb said they are still discussing a potential partnership with the YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City and the City of Midwest City on a potential facility. He discussed the item at the previous bond steering committee meeting and said they do not have any updates or cost estimates.
Samantha Marez, executive director of the Midwest City YMCA, attended the bond steering committee meeting along with YMCA staff Tracey Owens and Shade Jalo. Marez said there is a strong demand for a new pool and facility that could better serve Midwest City and eastern Oklahoma County.
“We’re at capacity now so a new facility and pool would give us the ability to serve the community including students and all of eastern Oklahoma County,” she said. “It would be a great safe place to come to swim and practice.”
In the tabletop exercise, groups had to prioritize a list of potential bond projects. The total projects were estimated to cost about $235 million, but the groups were asked to narrow that list to about $140 million.
The district did not have cost estimates for the multipurpose facilities or swimming pool.
The school board will meet May 4 for a workshop to discuss potential projects.
“Before we sit down with our bond advisor and write a bond resolution for the election, I want to make sure the school board understands what the process looks like and what we’re recommending and our rationalization for the projects,” Cobb said. “I want to have a robust discussion and get guidance from them.”
The school board is expected to vote on a bond resolution in June. A bond election is expected to take place in October.