The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 4, 2014

Cherokee school district prepares for improvements

ENID, Okla. — Cherokee Public School District officials are preparing to make the district’s first major capital improvements in 33 years.

Voters passed a $4.5 million bond issue in March, according to Superintendent Cory Ellis.

The revenue bond is being collected up front over the next nine years, he said.

Projects that make up the bond are a new eight-lane track and field complex, football field renovations, elementary school renovations, a softball and baseball field complex, high school auditorium renovations and an agricultural barn for the Vocational Ag program.

“It’s the first proactive bond issue they’ve had in a long time. Everything in the past has been for transportation or replacement of HVAC units and things like that,” Ellis said.

The last major capital improvement project was completed after a 1981 fire at the district’s high school and gymnasium. Ellis said the newest facility — the high school — was opened in 1984.

“The elementary (school) was built in 1964, and, other than changing out carpet from time to time, or tile, nothing has been done,” Ellis said, adding that roofs also have been replaced as needed.

The auditorium, built in 1974, is the same inside, and the football field and stadium have been the same since the early 1960s, he said.

“We don’t have a true baseball or softball field here. We do have a field that both teams share,” Ellis said.

Currently, district officials are going over a list of potential construction managers ahead of beginning the interview process. Once a construction manager is hired, Ellis said, the manager will give school district officials a timeline for each project.

Ellis said the district is just now selling bonds, and work is expected to begin in August.

“It’s probably going to be 18 to 24 months after August before it’s finished,” he said.

Ellis said construction schedules will have to work around school district athletic schedules.

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