McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

State House

October 14, 2013

Waukomis voters to decide 2 school bond issues Nov. 12

Community storm shelter/phys-ed facility on the ballot

ENID, Okla. — Voters in the Waukomis Public School district will go to the polls Nov. 12 to decide on two bond issues.

The first is a $2.49 million issue for construction of a community storm shelter and physical education facility. The second is a $170,000 transportation bond to replace two 71-passenger route buses.

Dale Bledsoe, Waukomis superintendent, said the buses the school district hopes to replace are a 1999 bus with 129,000 miles on it and a 2004 bus that has logged 89,000 miles. The district has not had an excessive amount of repairs yet with the two buses.

“We’re trying to prevent that from happening,” Bledsoe said.

As for the construction bond question, Bledsoe emphasizes the storm shelter is as much for community safety as it is for student and staff safety.

“What we want to build is a community storm shelter,” Bledsoe said. “It can be used by the community 24/7. We’re also going to have a PE facility inside.”

Bledsoe said the facility will be about 10,000-square- foot structure enclosed in a concrete dome.

Justin Lamunyon, president of the Waukomis Board of Education, said the board initially contemplated building a storm shelter with capacity to protect students and school employees.

“Obviously, the storm in Moore brought this onto the radar with Dale and myself,” Lamunyon said. “We have what are our ‘safe areas.’ Until the Moore tornado hit, we thought that would be adequate. Obviously, it would not.”

Lamunyon said board members decided that if they were going to build a shelter large enough for the school, for not much more money, Waukomis could have a shelter large enough for the community.

“It would protect about 1,600 people,” Lamunyon said. “The idea being that’s going to be more than plenty for all of our students and support staff and a large number of members of the community.”

The shelter will be on property the school already owns, west of the elementary school, between it and the football field, Bledsoe said.

Grade-schoolers will have a straight shot, out the door, across the parking lot and into the shelter, Lamunyon said.

“The main thing I’d like to stress is, we want it to be a storm shelter and community building,” Bledsoe said. “The community will be able to use it for a variety of purposes.”

Lamunyon said that property taxes are expected to increase 83 cents per month for every $100 already being paid in property tax.

Also in the plan is to put lighting at the baseball and softball fields, as well as new lighting at the football fields, Lamunyon said.

“We’re going to air condition our gym as well,” Lamunyon said.

Bledsoe said a community meeting about the bond issue will be held at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the elementary school all-purpose room.

“That will be the only meeting we have,” Bledsoe said.

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