The School Board and the Bond Oversight Committee met tonight in a joint meeting to discuss the plans for Oak Grove Elementary School. After substantial discussion, the group voted to replace and reconstruct the building rather than add classrooms to the existing structure.
The plan for Oak Grove in the bond proposal was to add classrooms and a new cafeteria to accommodate increasing student enrollment in the school’s high-growth neighborhoods. The priority throughout the bond planning process was to address the most pressing needs while balancing the costs to taxpayers.
As the architects began to design the building, it became clear that tearing down the 70-year-old structure and constructing a new building would cost only slightly more than renovating the old structure. New construction would ensure that the building met modern educational standards, was seismically safe and energy efficient.
Estimates for a new building are $167,883 more than the previous plan. Thanks to a favorable bond market, the bond premium will cover the higher costs and allow construction of a larger school.
The new school will have a 500-student enrollment capacity. It will meet seismic codes and allow for better student supervision.
Several teachers from Oak Grove were at the meeting to express their support for the new construction plan. Fifth-grade teacher Beth Riley said, “I think starting fresh is a wonderful idea.” She said she supports the new design, which would allow additional expansion if needed for growth. “Having a plan for expansion if needed in the future on land we already own is smart.”
The new schools is scheduled to break ground and begin construction as soon as school is out. It will open for the fall 2019 school year. Students will be relocated to other school sites for the 2018-19 school year during construction.
District leaders are reviewing options for Oak Grove students and will announce the plan in February.