Edmond, Okla. school district plans new projects, including security upgrade

Projects include security perimeters, facility upgrades, transportation improvements

Jan. 17--EDMOND -- Edmond Public Schools is ready to start spending $15.95 million of the 2009 bond issue money, as plans are under way for five district projects.

The projects include work at North High School, Central Middle School, Russell Dougherty Middle School, the transportation facility and security perimeters at the three high schools.

Visitors to North will need to find their way to the back of the school next year as the main entrance will be repositioned during construction expected to take 16 months from the start date, and will include losing a row of parking spaces at the front of the school.

"Edmond North High School is the largest project this year," said Associate Superintendent of District Operations Bret Towne. "It ties in the top and bottom and expands the media center, administration and counseling offices, adds seven classrooms, a media center storage and a textbook room."

The project is estimated to cost $7 million.

Towne said the new classrooms will follow a 10-year building trend in the business of education.

"In the last 10 years, high school classrooms are being built larger," Towne said. "The old classrooms at Santa Fe were built around 650 square feet, while more recently-built classrooms are 800 to 900 square feet."

The project is scheduled to go out for final approval in June and the bid will be awarded in July, Towne said. An earlier start date would pull workers from other projects, and delay the completion of work at those other locations, like Central Middle School.

Summer days will see Central Middle School undergoing its first major renovation in 30 years, with construction costs estimated at $4.3 million.

The renovation project is set to begin the day school is out, and with the exception of the media center, is scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer.

The school, built in the 1950s, was originally Edmond High School.

"The building needs updating and upgrading," Towne said. "We will be working in the hallways, adding on to the media center, remodeling restrooms, upgrading lighting fixtures, adding new doors, ceiling grids and tile as needed and painting.

"A 2,000-square-foot addition is planned, which will include the media center expansion, and classrooms will get new carpet tile and base. Existing chalk boards will be removed to accommodate new smart boards, and existing metal lockers will be replaced with solid phenolic lockers, a hard plastic which is vandal proof and lasts longer."

As classrooms are added, portables will be removed, Towne said.

"One of the goals is to always remove portables," Towne said. "As we build classrooms we will be stacking out (selling) portables."

Towne said the much needed replacement of and additions to the Transportation Administration building and the maintenance garage will include a wash bay, storage, shop, and the parts room. A new bus storage shed will replace the existing storage shed, all at an estimated cost of $2.6 million.

"One hundred thirty people are working out of a room less than 900 square feet," Towne said.

The administration building will be a metal building with a brick veneer and will be used to train drivers during the daytime. In addition to the training room, an area is planned for drivers, offices for dispatchers, trainers, payroll and a router.

"The barn we are tearing down is 40 to 50 years old," Towne said. "The district's buses don't fit. They are higher than older buses."

Larger tires and taller buses are designed to help lessen the impact in a collision, Towne said.

"We have even dug down through the dirt floor where they park to make room for the buses," Towne said. "Our eventual goal is to get all the buses covered."

Covered buses will be protected from weather and vandalism, and will be more secure.

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