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Union Boundary

Union Dedicates Ochoa Elementary

Managing Editor

NEWEST SCHOOL: Union Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler, left, stands with Ellen Ochoa, second row, center, and Union school board members and Ellen Ochoa Elementary students and staff at the dedication of Ellen Ochoa Elementary School in October.

Courtesy Union Public Schools

On Oct. 23, Union Public Schools dedicated Ellen Ochoa Elementary School, 12000 E. 31st St. The dedication included a visit from Ellen Ochoa, director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Ochoa, who has ties to Tulsa, is the first Hispanic female astronaut.

Ochoa’s mother was born in Tulsa, and Ochoa’s brother played in the Tulsa Philharmonic.

Ochoa received her master of science and doctorate degrees at Stanford University. She was selected by NASA in 1990.

A mission specialist and flight engineer, Ochoa is a veteran of four space flights, logging more than 950 hours in space.

Her awards include NASA’s Exceptional Service Medal (1997), Outstanding Leadership Medal (1995), and Space Flight Medals (2002, 1999, 1994, 1993).

“Ellen Ochoa shows students they can dare to dream,” says Ochoa Elementary Principal Rita Long.

Ochoa Elementary opened in August to 500 students and will welcome an additional 500 students after the school is completed.

The school replaces Briarglen Elementary, Union’s very first elementary, which closed in June.

Construction of the school has been funded by 2016 and 2017 bond issues, with a third bond issue in 2018 that, if passed, will help school construction to be completed.
The district purchased the 32 acres of land that the school sits on in 2014.

Ochoa Elementary was built to address growth in the north central part of the district and free up elementary classroom space in other parts of the district, says Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler. The school is also a first for the district in that it is Union’s first comprehensively-designed community school.

“We asked ourselves, ‘how can this school transform this community?’” says Hartzler.
Additionally, administrators brought elementary students into school planning meetings in order to get their feedback into what they want in a school.

For example, students asked for a slide in the library, which will be installed soon and used as a reading reward, he continues.

Students also asked for areas where they could dream and be creative so maker spaces were included, which are areas that allow for project-based learning.

The school is energy-efficient with open learning corridors and a test kitchen that will be available for public use and be used to provide nutrition classes and other instructional courses to the community.

Also, the school will feature a soon-to-be-built $12 million comprehensive Community Health Connection clinic. The facility will be constructed with Vision Tulsa funds and private funding and is expected to open in 2019.

Flinto, LLC, has been chosen to provide pre-construction services and to serve as construction manager.

During the design phase, Flintco, LLC, will provide pre-construction services which will include cost projections and estimates, constructability reviews and scheduling reviews as the project team works toward a building design.

Updated 11-08-2017

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