Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

July 29, 2013

ECP bond issue a big one

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat — When Sept. 10 rolls around it will be a big election day for many voters in Garvin County, including those in the Elmore City-Pernell School District.

Voters there will decide the fate of a seven-figure school bond issue that if passed by at least 60 percent support will look to make some big changes for the area school district.

For one it will allow school officials to construct a brand new gymnasium for the Badgers.

Secondly, if passed by voters, it will result in some serious renovations meant to create more age-appropriate areas in the same building for ECP’s junior high and high school grades.

The bond issue is for just over $7.5 million in a series over a 14-year period.

The idea behind this bond issue was actually born two or three years ago when the Elmore community was surveyed on what it thought was needed to improve the local schools.

What the survey showed was local residents wanted a new school gym and middle school, along with upgrades to the school bus fleet.

An election last year was the first step as voters approved a bond issue that did make the transportation improvements.

This new issue on the September ballot is meant to address the gym and use a strategy of renovation instead of constructing a new building to create separate areas in the same school facility for both middle school and high school age students.

“This is really two things rolled into one,” Darrow said.

According to the superintendent, the plan is to use in the range of $4 million of the bond issue to build a new gym.

“With the rest we’d be remodeling the high school and creating separation to form a middle school area.

“The idea here is to renovate and separate.”

Currently ECP High School holds the seventh through 12th grades.

If the measure is passed much of the south end of the high school would be turned into a renovated middle school area for the sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

At the same time the north end of the building would be for the ninth grade on up through seniors.

“This is a way for the students to be totally separated,” Darrow said.

“That’s what the community wants,” he said. “They don’t want the sixth, seventh and eighth grades in the same area as the high school.”

He adds this would also even out the number of students at both the high school and elementary school sites.

In this scenario Darrow himself would be relocated to a new superintendent’s office. That space would be renovated, along with some other classrooms and parts of an old auditorium and stage that now goes mostly unused.

It would include remodeled classrooms and maybe even a student area just for the middle school.

“We would give it a good face lift,” Darrow said.

“The community wants them separated,” he said referring to middle school and high school students.

“We can separate without having to build a new building. It would benefit our kids. It’s all about the kids, and this would create a great environment for them.”

Editor’s Note - More on the ECP school bond issue will be featured later this week in the Pauls Valley Democrat.