In her State of the Schools address, Jenks Superintendent Dr. Stacey Butterfield spoke about district growth and current and future construction projects, including projects included in the 2017 bond proposal.
Patrons will vote on Feb. 14 regarding a bond issue of $10,420,000, its two most noteworthy and largest elements being construction of phase II of the Middle School athletic fields and, to address the district’s annual student growth rates, the addition of secondary classrooms, phase I.
The Middle School athletic fields will benefit not only middle school athletes, said Butterfield, but all community groups because it will provide an additional practice space for the school district and the community.
The location of the additional secondary classrooms will accommodate growth in the district, which is on average 200 students per year, Butterfield continued. However, “until we get into planning of the project, we are not ready to nail down where the classrooms will go and at what schools.”
The bond package’s other elements are mostly maintenance items, such as technology upgrades, equipment, printing improvements, transportation needs and textbooks.
As the state department continues to cut education funding, school bonds become even more important for school districts in maintaining the quality of its facilities and offerings, Butterfield said, which includes technology. “We still need the proper technology for our students in order to prepare them for the world they are going to live and work in.”
Throughout the school district, there are a number of construction projects taking place at present, such as the construction of Northwest Elementary, at 7625 S. Elwood Ave., and the classroom expansion at West Intermediate. Both projects are expected to be completed in time for the 2017-2018 school year, and both schools will include a STEM Learning Lab.
The labs encourage student creativity in a self-directed, hands-on learning environment, with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) curriculum, according to the Jenks Public Schools Foundation website.
School administrators are currently working on their plan to add one learning lab to every school site, with the foundation providing much of the funding.
Also for the 2017-2018 school year, the addition of Northwest Elementary will bring into effect new elementary attendance zones. Northwest Elementary students will come largely from West and East Elementary schools, which encompass students mostly living north of 81st Street.
Capacity of the Middle School’s cafeteria is being increased, with about 300 seats being added. The project is planned for completion by April.
Work began in July 2016 on the Central Campus Dining Hall, with an expected opening in the fall. The new dining hall will sit in the location of the former dining hall.
Renovations of the High School’s Building 5 and 6 are being done in three phases. Phase I, which focused on Building 6, was completed in summer 2016. Phase II, which began in December, will complete renovations to Building 6 and begin work on Building 5. Its planned completion is the summer. Phase III will complete Building 5.
The project includes classroom renovations, building updates and upgrades, and some space reconfigurations, said Butterfield, including adapting areas to create more open seating spaces to encourage student collaborations and greater accessibility to power outlets for technology.
Another focus is on the High School stadium: its classroom spaces and locker rooms and expansion of the press box, to be completed by the summer.