Rachael Van Horn
Woodward, Okla. —
Aside from a few routine action items, such as approving food and material vendors for school nutrition and maintenance departments, Monday night’s meeting of the Woodward Board of Education was dominated by the hiring of personnel and discussion regarding a possible $20 million bond issue.
In his Superintendent’s report, which precedes each meeting, Woodward Superintendent Tim Merchant informed the board of a special meeting slated for the last part of July. The meeting is intended to allow members to interface with construction manager Joe Hall and decide which projects to proceed with for inclusion on the bond proposal and which ones will have to wait, he said.
The proposal has to be agreed upon by the board, drawn up and completed for filing by August 8, so that it can be put before the public for a vote October 8, he said.
Merchant also informed members of a $900,000 adjustment to the originally discussed bond proposal linked to expanded construction plans for the high school gymnasium that, along with making it safer, would also allow for better and more efficient use of the facility.
“We are in the nitty-gritty part of this where we need to do the heavy decision making,” Merchant said. “And we need to decide what to proceed forward with.”
At stake are 4 primary needs for Woodward schools, including safety and security, overcrowding and needed technology and transportation.
Discussed Monday night were several proposed options that include the following;
1. A large safe room built as a part of the gymnasium. As planned it would be capable of holding the entire high school population. This would include an elevator to make the school ADA compliant and an atrium that would surround the entryway to the gymnasium. The atrium would mitigate the wind problems associated at present with the entrance as well as create a more efficient use of the space by students and also for the public during after school activities, Merchant said. This portion of the construction would add $900,000 to the bond proposal amount, Merchant said.
2. Also included in the proposal would be construction and possible renovation to add room to the elementary schools so that the first grade classes can return to the elementary schools. This would open up room at the Early Childhood Development Center, Merchant said.
3. Included with that plan for renovation would be a double entry buzzer system at the entrance of all schools, which would limit access to anyone until that individual is verified - once to get into the foyer to be recognized - and a second buzzer entry system to allow that individual into the office area of the school, Merchant said.
It is Merchant’s intention for the special meeting at the end of July, to allow board members a chance to go line-by-line through the proposed projects and renovations. This would allow oversight in such a detailed way that it will allow them to create a bond proposal that encompasses all of the needs and priorities for the district, as identified by the long range planning committee, he said.
According to Woodward School Board Member Roxy Merklin, Office No. 1, safety and security for students in Woodward School district is paramount.
“It only takes one time for you to need that safe room or security controlled entry to realize it was worth it,” she said.
In other business, the board convened in executive session to discuss the hiring of 24 individuals to serve the Woodward School District. They are:
Dawna Nelson, Horace Mann-principal; Adrianna Matzek, Horace Mann-3rd grade; Maria Godoy, Horace Mann-custodian; Jerry Burch, Highland Park-principal; Bethany Swartz, Highland Park- 2nd grade; Lori Zimmerman, middle school-7th grade language arts; David Mudd, middle school-music teacher; Tracie Grunewald, middle school-8th grade math; Tina Rogers, middle school-science; Buck King, high school-assistant principal; Craig Hixon, high school-special education; Olivia Gonzales, high school-custodian; Jessica Hoselton, ECC-special education; Jan Davis, ECC-music and movement; Jamie Lahey, ECC-1st grade; Becky King, ECC-Pre-k; Renea Hamilton, ECC-kindergarten; Bonnie Powers, ECC-art; Natalie Rose, ECC-Computer paraprofessional; Malerie Merry, ECC-physical education; Irma Esconbedo, ECC Pre-K paraprofessional; Alondra Briseno, ECC Pre-K paraprofessional; Stacey Spicer, ECC-Pre-K paraprofessional; Amber Roach, ECC-Pre-K paraprofessional.