The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

February 15, 2014

Approaching the finish line

ENID, Okla. — The Enid Public Schools district has experienced a massive amount of change since voters approved a $99 million bond issue for renovation and construction of new schools in February 2010.

Atlanta, Ga.-based Carter and Associates was contracted to assist with strategic master planning for the project and overseeing of the work.

Now, work is approaching the finish line.

Amber Fitzgerald, communications and human resources director for EPS, said projects still under way include renovation of Longfellow Middle School and tuck pointing on brick walls at some of the older schools.

“Right now, really, it’s the final stretch at Longfellow,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s about 95 percent finished with the classrooms there.”

Work currently taking place on the education services, transportation and technology buildings are not funded by the bond issue. They are funded by maintenance funds.

For the past three years, EPS has issued a February progress report. This year, as the districtwide overhaul grinds down to its end, the report will be delayed.

“We will be publishing a final bond program report in early April that will include a complete look at the bond program,” Fitzgerald said.

Before the February 2010 bond election, a committee of local residents and community leaders had spent a year exploring the needs of Enid Public Schools and looking at possible solutions.

Other school districts now visit Enid. Two new elementary schools and University Center at Enid High School have drawn the attention of educators statewide.

“While we were getting ideas, we were visiting school districts to get ideas and seeing things we wanted to offer our students,” Fitzgerald said. “Now, other school districts visit us.”

The list of projects at the time of the bond issue election did not include University Center. The money for that came from savings realized on other bond projects.

“One of the reasons we were able to accomplish more than originally thought is because we worked with a number of talented architects and builders,” Fitzgerald said. “Carter also oversaw all projects and costs. We were able to award many contracts to local builders and it was great to be able to reinvest those dollars back into the community. Many of the subcontractors were also Enid companies.”

Fitzgerald said many of the target projects were related to student safety and ADA requirements.

“In addition to having first class facilities that our students deserve, we also have made schools safer for them,” Fitzgerald said.

The renovation of Eisenhower Elementary School was one of the smaller renovations, but even that made a difference students appreciate, the Eisenhower principal said.

“The students absolutely love the new toilets that do their own flushing, and they love the new water fountains that have a place to fill their water bottles,” Lyntel Murphy said. “The students also love the cubbies that give them storage room. They can put their backpacks and coats and everything in the cubbies.”

Murphy said parents often have commented on the new foyer with the Eisenhower Eagles mascot designed into the floor.

The yellow and blue color scheme used for the school hallways really brightened up the building, Murphy said.

“At Eisenhower, we are very thankful for everything we were given during our renovation,” Murphy said. “We really had a small renovation, but we really appreciate everything we were given.”

From February 2013 to February 2014, these projects were completed:

• Eisenhower renovation;

• Lincoln renovation;

• Monroe renovation;

• McKinley renovation;

• Waller renovation;

• EHS renovation;

• University Center.

From February 2012 to February 2013, these projects were completed:

• Adams renovations;

• Emerson renovations;

• New Garfield;

• New Garfield armory demolition;

• New Prairie View.

From February 2011 to February 2012, these projects were completed:

• Multi-purpose room HVAC at 11 schools;

• EHS track resurfacing;

• Glenwood phase 2 renovations;

• Coolidge phase 2 renovations;

• Hayes structural repairs and renovations;

• Hoover phase 2 renovations;

• New Prairie View site grading;

• Selby Stadium renovations;

• Roofing at seven schools;

• Taft renovations.

From February 2010 to February 2011, these projects were completed:

• Glenwood Elementary School restroom renovations and Red School House;

• Coolidge Elementary School restroom renovations;

• Hoover Elementary School restroom renovations;

• Stage Curtain Replacements at 12 schools;

• Selby Stadium artificial turf.

“The bond program allowed us to add classroom space to address the needs of our growing district — two new schools, more classrooms at EHS and the Waller addition,” Fitzgerald said. “The other improvements significantly improved the learning environment for our students. The remodels resulted in beautiful, safer, more accessible facilities with amenities that students deserve. At Coolidge, we were able to connect all of the buildings with hallways, and Adams now has a cafeteria. Our generous community made this possible in a short amount of time, and we are very grateful.”

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