By: Michael Murray | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: November 2007
High school students walk from the main building to one of nine portable buildings on a rainy day. Bond funds would eliminate these buildings and provide safer avenues free of inclement weather.
On November 13, patrons of Claremore Public Schools will decide on a bond issue in the form of two propositions: $42,645,000 for facilities and $330,000 for transportation equipment. The improvements and expansions will meet current facility requirements and will provide for future growth without increasing current taxation levels.
The Claremore Board of Education approved the resolutions, authorizing a special November election following a report from the Claremore Public Schools Building Committee, which was commissioned to review the district’s programs, facilities and enrollment. David Jones, chairman of the Claremore Public Schools Building Committee, says, “After considerable evaluation, we determined the growth of Claremore and Rogers County has outpaced the capacity of our school’s infrastructure. The plan before Claremore voters will provide the necessary improvements and expansions to accompany our growth.”
The 2007 school bond issue would provide the following:
•New technology and textbooks.
The 47-year-old football stadium at Lantow Field badly needs updating.
•The addition of 16 new classrooms at the high school.
•The addition of 16 new classrooms at the junior high.
•Improvements at elementary schools to include a new gym floor at Claremont, a driveway awning at Westside, as well as a lighting and heating, ventilation and air conditioning package at Roosa.
•The addition of a new south side elementary school and buses to accommodate increased enrollment.
•New athletic facilities, including a new football stadium with artifical turf and a new field house.
•New equipment for agriculture education and band.
•Repair or replacement of aging roofs at facilities.
•District-wide heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades.
Stephen Smith, president of Stephen L. Smith Corp. and financial advisor to Claremore Public Schools, says, “Tax rates will not change from their present level, even with the passage of this bond issue, due to the retiring of existing debt.” Smith has worked with approximately 100 cities and school districts, including: Chelsea, Pryor, Sequoyah, Foyil, Collinsville, Adair, Vinita, Bixby, Sperry, Skiatook, Coweta, Yukon, Moore and Northeast Technology Center. These schools have used and are using financing methods like the one before Claremore voters.
Passage of the bond proposal will provide additional funds for a new south side elementary, as well as expansions at the junior high and high schools. This will accommodate enrollment projections for a minimum of 10 years. Superintendent of Claremore Schools, Mike McClaren, mentioned that more than half of school sites in Claremore have already reached or exceeded maximum occupancy. To reduce overcrowding, 14 portable classrooms buildings are in use at Claremont Elementary, Central Upper Elementary, Will Rogers Junior High School, as well as Claremore High School, where 300 students are housed in nine buildings each day.
Zebra athletics would receive significant upgrades, including a new football stadium and turf. Built 47 years ago, Lantow Field’s concrete is in disrepair, and poor water drainage has given rise to mold throughout the structure. The district must currently borrow aluminum bleachers from the city to accommodate visitor seating.
A new field house would replace the 26-year-old Frank Mobra Field House. Provisions would be made for patrons with disabilities, sufficient restrooms would be provided, and current safety concerns would be addressed regarding the close proximity of seating to the playing floor. Bond funds would make Claremore’s facilities comparable to facilities at other 6A school districts in the region. This year, Claremore moved up to a Class 6A District, a classification based on enrollment numbers. As a result, Claremore would be placed in the same category as the largest schools in the state.
Approval of the 2007 bond issue would also increase student access to new technology, and it would provide textbooks and new equipment for agriculture education and band programs.
Get ready to vote on Tuesday, November 13. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m, and all voters must live in the Claremore Public School District.