The Norman Transcript

October 8, 2013

City school board discusses proposed 2014 bond issue

By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Utilizing current facilities to the best of their abilities and equity for all students was discussed Monday night at a regular NPS Board of Education meeting.

Mike Mize, president of Architectural Design Group, and Dr. Roger Brown, NPS assistant superintendent for administrative services, presented a proposed 2014 bond issue to the school board at the completion of ADG’s Master Planning Services for the district, which included assessment of facilities, planning and programming, cost estimating and scope recommendations.

During his presentation, Mize emphasized that no one got everything they requested.

NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said the bond attempted to create a balance between taking care of existing facilities and adding classrooms at the time there is growth.

“What was presented tonight is the most impactful as an instructional and capital investment,” Siano said.

After interviewing administrative, building and maintenance staff, reviewing data collected during the 2009 bond process and ranking each condition of each facility, ADG developed a comprehensive projects list consisting of more than 220 individual projects and a $250 million estimated cost.

With a $120 million probable value of a 2014 bond issue, ADG applied further multiple determinants — such as district priorities, updated demographics study and potential operating costs savings — to narrow the Master Plan to recommend about 90 individual projects.

Mize said the Master Plan recommends $23,817,165 for Norman High and $24,234,419 for Norman North, which includes a 10 percent contingency in case of inflation or change in scope.

The bulk of the cost spent at NPS high schools will go to a freshman academy and collegiate center at each high school. Renovations would add about 20 classrooms to each high school.

Siano said NPS high schools are the flagship of the school district and a lot of money would go to these schools with the 2014 bond issue because with the 2009 bond, a lot of money went to NPS elementary schools.

“We think a freshman academy would help smooth the transition from eighth grade to high school,” Siano said. “The model of instruction shouldn’t look the same for a junior or senior who are preparing for college or the work force. A collegiate center will offer more flexibility.”

Roof replacement and secure entry vestibules will be top projects for a majority of NPS middle and elementary schools in the 2014 bond issue.

Brown said everything presented to the school board, including additional classrooms, had been determined as possible by ADG.

Overall benefits of the possible 2014 bond issue include maximization of the use of current available space, meeting projected demographic demand for the next five to 10 years, providing hardened rooms as a part of all new construction, completing the task providing secure entries in all schools and improving technology for students.

Additionally, the school board discussed the implementation and success of Common Core within the school district.

Brooke Meiller, NPS director of literature, Nita Cochran, NPS director of mathematics, and Dr. Shirley Simmons, assistant superintendent of educational services, dispelled myths about Common Core and explained that it was adopted in 2010 by the state to increase the rigor of curriculum and align curriculum with ACT & SAT demands.

By the 2014-2015 school year, Common Core will be completely in place in all NPS schools.

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Katherine Parker