Upcoming October Bond Election Discussed
Bill Coleman - August 23, 2021 12:44 pm
Members of the Ponca City community, bringing multiple interests to the table, were invited to two different meetings this week to discuss the school’s upcoming bond election on Tuesday, Oct. 12. This seven-year $49.7 million bond project, with an additional $10 million of CARES funds, will allow improvements to the school district and aid in the mitigation and spread of COVID-19.
Ponca City’s current mill levy is 22 mills, the lowest among other school districts in Kay County. Passage of this bond issue will not increase taxes.
Ponca City hasn’t voted on a bond issue since it approved a $37.5 million bond election in October of 2015. Projects included in that bond issue included the Ponca City Public Schools Concert Hall, the new football locker room, new ticket booths, new press box at Sullins Stadium, weight training facility, Robson Fieldhouse improvements, securing entrances at Trout, Woodlands, the Fine Arts corridor and West Middle School, East windows and HVAC and bathroom upgrades.
Because the district is receiving CARES and ESSR funds, it will be able to do many projects that normally would have been included in the bond election. “As everyone knows, we are living through a pandemic,” said Superintendent Shelley Arrott. “Fortunately, we are able to receive federal dollars to help us prepare, prevent and respond to COVID-19. We are able to leverage COVID relief funds with potential bond funding to not only maximize needed repairs, but to plan for creative opportunities to enhance academic and extra-curricular opportunities for our students.”
Adam Leaming, Executive Director of Operations Intern, said there are 16 bond projects, coupled alongside 15 CARES projects. “Every single school site will see an improvement,” he said. “To remain as a destination district for area families, we must meet the current and future needs of local youth through innovative facilities.”
Leaming said there are three Rs when talking about the upcoming bond issue … repair, renovate and renew.
Bond projects included in this election include:
- Anderson – Po-Hi – This building will be remodeled into a state-of-the-art STEM space with a focus on college and career readiness. There will also be new HVAC systems, new floorings, windows, becoming ADA compatible and moving counselors to the lower level with more office space. The renovation will allow for more rigorous and robust courses in robotics, 3D printing and design, computer science, engineering, digital electronics, aerospace and other STEM-related curriculum.
- Howell/MSB/Commons – This project will preserve the history, charm and beauty of the high school while making it feel clean, modern and fresh for students. The entire high school will undergo updates to plumbing, electrical and a more efficient space for administrators, teachers and students.
- Ponca City Public School Concert Hall – In 2018 the district opened a state-of-the-art Concert Hall for the instrumental music department. This bond project will add three new classroom and staging rooms for the instrumental programs. By adding the classrooms, the site will have the ability to host large regional, area and statewide competitions for instrumental music. It would also finalize the vision for the Concert Hall that voters overwhelmingly approved in 2015.
- Liberty Elementary – Remodel and expand main office, flooring in cafeteria, new bleachers, replacing classroom doors and expanding the Media center/library
- Washington Elementary – New flooring in the halls, classrooms and work areas and new flooring in the cafeteria and food service area
- Lincoln Elementary – Addition for cafeteria with new windows and a serving line, extending the lobby and canopy for more student waiting, new gym flooring and new finishes in each of the restrooms
- Union Elementary – New flooring in hallways and classrooms, new finishes in all restrooms, replacing drinking fountains, adding ballistic bullet resistant glass and frames to all exterior doors and frames, replace flooring in the cafeteria and new countertops and finishes in the media center
- West Middle School – Finishing the secure entrance by adding bullet resistant glass and metal framing around the entrance
- East Middle School – The retaining wall and patio will be reconstructed and made safe and appealing as the drop-off point for eighth graders
- Tennis Upgrades – Right now the middle and high school tennis students must change in the city building that was constructed in the 1970s. The students practice on the nine courts that are owned and maintained by the City of Ponca City. In order to host competitions, the district needs a space with 14 courts. Instead of building a new complex across town, the district will partner with the City of Ponca City to add five new courts to the existing complex. PCPS will also replace the outdated facility with a new space that has dressing rooms and provides an overlook for coaches to see the entire complex.
- Multi-Purpose Indoor Space – This space will bring another transformative component to the high school campus. When there is inclement weather, which is often the case, athletic teams are on top of one another in the gym. A permanent indoor facility will allow for smooth and efficient transitions between all sports teams. It will create a new outdoor soccer field with locker rooms, bathrooms and concession stand, decorating fencing along Fifth Street to match the campus, adds an indoor track space and a 30-foot ball netting along Fifth Street.
- Baseball Complex – The baseball field will be brought up to the standards of a 6A school with a new eye-catching appearance. A new entry will be built off Fifth Street that creates ADA accessibility with an entire solid surface courtyard. The ticket booth and new roof deck will also be built. New restrooms and a new visiting dressing room will also be added. The stadium will be cohesive in appearance to the high school.
- Softball Field – The bleachers at the softball field will have a new awning constructed. ADA accessibility will also be gained with new ramps to the field and bleachers.
Anyone that resides in the Ponca City Public School district is eligible to vote in the October election.