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Elementary schools to get facelift in bond proposal

A hallway at Cleveland Bailey Elementary School. The bond proposal includes funds to remodel three elementary schools. Photo by Jeff Harrison

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth part in a series of articles about projects included in Mid-Del School District’s upcoming $492 million bond proposal. The election is set for Oct. 10.

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Elementary school facilities vary greatly in the Mid-Del School District.

The district opened a pair of large new schools at Soldier Creek and Midwest City Elementary in 2014. Epperly Heights received a major overhaul about a decade ago and Schwartz Elementary was recently expanded.

Many of the other elementary schools were built in the 1950s.

The district is looking to close the discrepancy with major renovations at three older elementary schools – Cleveland Bailey, Country Estates and Ridgecrest. The projects focus on safety and security, storm shelters, deferred maintenance, and comfort and aesthetics.

A new Townsend Elementary would also be built.

The projects are included in a $492 million bond proposal. Voters will decide on the bond issue during a special election on Oct. 10. School officials project that the nearly 20-year bond issue will increase property taxes by $2.75 per month for a house valued at $150,000.

The bond proposal includes $19,460,000 for upgrades to Cleveland Bailey, Country Estates and Ridgecrest.

The biggest portion will be a classroom addition that includes a storm shelter. The storm shelters would double as classroom space for music or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

“There are multiple options of where it would go,” said Mid-Del Superintendent Rick Cobb.

Storm shelters are also planned for Barnes, Tinker, Epperly Heights, and all three high schools.

Campus containment is another goal of the remodel projects.

Some of the schools have separate buildings that students walk outside to reach. Cobb said they would like to connect those parts of the buildings with covered walkways. The district plans to add fencing around the main part of the school and playground area. Walking trails would not be included.

“We want a good strong fence line starting at the building and going out to the area that we consider the playground,” Cobb said.
Another safety component planned will be new intercom systems for the schools.

The remodel projects will vary at each school. Epperly Heights Elementary underwent a major remodel about a decade ago. That will serve as a model for the proposed bond issue.

“It’s really going to change the face of these buildings,” Cobb said.

The buildings also require work on roofing, HVAC, and maintenance issues.

“We want to put all of our maintenance needs on the table,” Cobb said. “And then put all of the things that we’d like to change in the layout of the building on the table. Then see where we are in our budget and prioritize.”

Cobb believes the upgrades will extend the life of the buildings by about 25 years.

The district is also in the process of smaller projects to upgrade classrooms and restrooms across the district. Cobb said the work is being done by maintenance staff as time allows.

“We’re working through that bit by bit because those were small amounts of money and we’re not contracting it out,” Cobb said.

A playground area behind Cleveland Bailey Elementary School in Midwest City. Mid-Del Schools plans to add fencing around school buildings as part of an Oct. 10 bond election. Photo by Jeff Harrison

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