Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

March 14, 2011

WW vote eyes new school system

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Daily Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — (Editor’s  Note: This is the first of two parts on a school bond issue in Wynnewood going to voters next month. A closer look at the property tax implications will be in the Tuesday, March 15 edition of the Daily Democrat.)

There are some in Wynnewood who share a vision of someday having totally new school buildings and athletic facilities, and their hope is voters will agree during an upcoming election.

Wynnewood voters will indeed decide the fate of a school bond issue totaling nearly $19.7 million when they head to the election polls on April 5.

First year Wynnewood school Superintendent Raymond Cole says yes the issue will have a definite impact on property taxes for those living in the school district.

He is quick to stress the positive benefits of the issue would be far reaching for not only the local school district but all of Wynnewood as a community.

“We’re going to build a whole new school system,” Cole said.

“We want all of our schools to be on the same campus,” he said.

Put simply this bond issue represents the first step in a grand plan of constructing brand new buildings for all three local schools, along with all new athletic facilities including a new football stadium.

It’s literally a brand new school system with all the facilities located together at a site just east of Wynnewood that today is nothing but pasture land.

“We’re going to start by building a new elementary school and a new middle school,” Cole said.

The two would be separate buildings but connected in a U-shape. Around 80,000 square feet in size, the two schools would contain 37 classrooms, a few more than the current schools.

It would also include a new kitchen and cafeteria, middle school gym and physical education building for the elementary students.

This bond issue also includes the construction of a brand new football stadium complete with synthetic turf on the field, new baseball and softball fields and a new fieldhouse servicing most of Wynnewood’s school sports teams.

If voters approve this first step a brand new high school, complete with auditorium and gymnasium, would follow in five to seven years with a bond issue that would not have a tax increase.

The overall project, including the future high school, would be located on just over 46 acres of property east of Wynnewood.

The road to this election actually began last year when public meetings were held as school officials were looking for input from residents on what needed to be done to improve the school system in Wynnewood.

“At first we were going to do something small and just remodel,” Cole said.

“When we first started this we didn’t know what we were going to build.”

Then the focus moved from renovating the older school buildings, all at least 50 years old, to constructing brand new facilities.

“You could spend several million dollars to bring those buildings up to speed but you would still have school buildings that are older,” he said.

The superintendent described the current middle school as having “served its purpose” since the building has essentially reached its maximum capabilities with the electrical services needed.

Cole says all of those things make the need for the new facilities a top priority.

“If you put it on a scale of one to 10 I feel like it would be a 10,” he said.

“We’ve got to be progressive. We need this if you want the community to move forward and attract more people to the community.

“This would touch almost every group of students here in Wynnewood,” he said, referring to the middle school and elementary classrooms and athletic improvements for the older students with a high school to come later.