NORMAN — Editor’s note: This is the latest in a series of articles on the Norman Public School district’s proposed bond issue to be voted on Feb. 11.
Norman Public Schools is keeping students engaged in academics by supporting students’ extra-curricular activities and in the 2014 bond issue, 10 percent of bond funding has been dedicated to athletics, school officials said.
Frank Thompson, NPS athletic director, said that in the district about 800 to 1,000 students participate in athletics.
The $126 million, five-year bond issue will be voted on Feb. 11 in two proposals. This bond issue is the largest ever proposed in the school district’s history. For the bond issue to pass, it must carry a vote of 60 percent.
Voters will be asked to approve one proposal representing $122.5 million for renovations, safety and security, technology, athletics and annual expenditure projects, as well as a separate $3.5 million proposal for transportation.
State law requires transportation be a separate proposal in school bond elections.
The $126 million bond issue is not expected to raise or lower property taxes because other bonds will have been paid off by the time the new bonds would hit the tax rolls.
At a recent League of Women Voters meeting, NPS Superintendent Dr. Joe Siano said the district had to invest in things that keep kids engaged and that from the basketball court to the football field, sports are important extra-curricular activities to NPS students.
“Our coaches deserve the same quality of facilities as our other teachers,” Siano said. “Students learn from our coaches and the athletic building is their classroom.”
Maintenance of athletic buildings is an ongoing process just like that of other buildings and the expense is high, Thompson said.
Harve Collins Field, which is the district’s high school football field, is set for several improvements if the 2014 bond issue passes. Facilities and press box improvements, construction of a new ticket booth, installation of new track fencing, construction of certain concessions, restrooms and storage, installation of a new scoreboard and sound system, construction of new entrances and installation of a new vehicle gate would all update the football field.