The Woodward Board of Education unanimously approved the land plot to be used for a proposed Early Childhood Development Center. Approval came Thursday at a special meeting.

Four of the five board members were present as Woodward Superintendent Bill Denton addressed the board.

“The proposed sight for the new Early Childhood Development Center has been decided depending on the board’s vote to be located behind the high school on land already owned by the school so there will be no purchase costs for the school,” Denton said. “If this proposed building location is approved by the board today we are asking the city council during their meeting next Wednesday to deed the land off of 8th Street in order for there to be two driveways coming into the facility.”

Building a new early childhood center is part of an upcoming nearly $8.6 million bond issue Woodward School District voters will consider on Nov. 8. Cost of the center is $4.2 million or nearly half of the total bond issue.

The proposed building spot is located northeast of Woodward High School near where the Agricultural Education school farm is currently located. If the bond issue is passed and construction on the center begins, the agriculture facilities will need to be moved to a location yet to be determined.

“When the high school was built in 1977 it was mostly country land around the entire school but because of the growth of Woodward the city has caught up with and grown around the school. I have visited with both of our Vo-Ag Instructors and they both seemed OK with the idea of moving the school farm to maybe a more rural area,” Denton said. “This would maybe not be as convenient for the instructors but it would allow for more room for projects located in the current area.”

“If we need to move I think it will give us an opportunity to have a more utilized facility and allow us to expand in several different areas,” said Agricultural Education Instructor Nathan Torrence. “It is very convenient where the farm is located now within walking distance of the Ag-Ed building but we would like to be on the south side of town and this would give us more opportunity and allow us to expand our pork program among several other areas. We are trying to do what is best for the school and not just our program and I think moving the farm would work well for not only us but for the school as a whole.”

Board members did have several question before the vote to approve the site took place. Several of the questions concerning the flow of traffic in the proposed area and the safety of the children attending the early childhood center.

“Will the flow of traffic that is causing the problems at the high school be compounded by this new facility and what about the land that is south of this proposed sight? Does the current owner plan to sell this land or build something on it? Is there anyway the school could look at buying this land to provide more space for the center,” asked Randy Willis, board vice president.

Denton said, “The traffic flow at the high school will not be affected by this new property and as for the purchasing of the property south of the proposed building sight, the board will need to go into executive session to discuss this matter. I am sure that something could be worked out but as for now the land we already own will suit our needs.”

Board Member Terry Nelson also asked if any other properties had been looked at by the school before this property was decided on. Denton said four other properties had been looked at before this current location was decided upon.

Willis moved to vote on the proposed sight and was seconded by board member Doris Ames. All members were quick to vote and the board passed the vote for the sight to be used pending on the city councils deeding of the land for the proposed driveway off of 8th Street and the bond issue being passed.

The proposed center will replace the current Westwood Early Childhood Center.

In addition to the early childhood center, the bond issue includes improves at Horace Mann, Highland Park and Cedar Heights Elementary schools, a high school health and fitness center, fine arts improvement, equipment for agriculture education and new technology. The second bond question is for transportation.

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