The Woodward News

Local News

September 19, 2013

Bond series: Proposal will help with overcrowding

Woodward, Okla. — OVERCROWDING

Woodward’s population has increased from less than 12,000 just 10 years ago to 13,000 plus, said Woodward City Manager Alan Riffel.  

"While we see those statistics increasing from less than 12,000 ten years ago to the estimated 13,000+ currently inside our city limits, that does not reflect the impact of working families moving into the surrounding area," Riffel said. "We are watching our school attendance burst upward. That's a  positive factor from a local economic perspective, or as a point in creating a healthy community, but it places a tremendous burden on the school system to provide quality education settings for our students.”

Until about 3 years ago, Woodward school district enjoyed a pretty static number of students, usually running around the 2,500 range, said Woodward Deputy Superintendent Kyle Reynolds.

About three years ago, with families moving to Woodward for a growing number of jobs opening, school rolls began to fill up, Reynolds said.

“This year will be the first that we bumped up to near 3,000,” Reynolds said.

Overcrowding though, has been on the minds of Woodward Board of Education staff for several years now. Ever since 2009, when the Early Childhood Center opened to rave reviews and an enrollment that nearly met the limit of people the building was designed for, overcrowding there has topped some discussions, Reynolds said.

“You go back five years ago when we did the preliminary planning for the Early Childhood Center and you know, it was built to hold 750 people including teachers, Reynolds said. “When we did enrollment we had 725 people there.”

This year, at one point, the ECC had nearly 800 in the building, still including first graders, he said.

"We have supported many forward-thinking projects in Woodward, but there is no more important investment we can make as a city than in delivering a good education to our kids," Riffel said.

The bond, if passed will address overcrowding by adding classroom space with new construction in all three elementary schools, a vast renovation in the middle school and added space in the multi-purpose room to ease schedule conflicts with that space, Reynolds said.

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