A couple of school construction projects in Pauls Valley appear to be moving along nicely as one now has a date set to open for students.
Even though a new elementary school on the west side of town is getting closer to opening, it's a new band building that's now on the verge of being ready for some new music.
Superintendent Mike Martin told school board members during a recent meeting the band building constructed on the PV High School campus should be ready to go next month.
“We've projected moving into the band facility on Jan. 15,” Martin said.
The band building is one of four projects included in a $23.6 million bond issue, spread out in a series over 18 years, passed by local voters in 2018.
Band students will soon call their new home in the building constructed on the site of some old tennis courts at the high school.
The building features one large rehearsal area, a few smaller practice rooms, offices and a lot of storage room, including a smaller second floor designed for that very thing.
Two other projects already competed are a classroom addition for the agriculture education program and improvements to the high school gym.
The biggest of the projects – a new elementary school – has been going up since early 2019 with an easy view for motorists driving on state Highway 19.
Once open, which is expected soon, it will be the new home for prekindergarten through the third grade now housed in Jackson Elementary and Jefferson Early Learning Center.
“We still have quite a bit to get done,” Martin said. “We will move in when it's ready. We will let parents know well in advance.”
The superintendent thinks when the time is right a good way to make the transition is to take a Thursday and Friday off from school and combine it with a weekend to allow teachers and staff to make the move from Jackson and Jefferson into the new school.
That move should be easier since the new school already has new furniture set up and ready to go, Martin said.
“It looks a lot different on the inside with the furniture.”
Martin continues to be open about his concerns with the traffic flow to come on SH 19 when the school does open.
“We've got to make sure the school zone signs are up. Traffic is my biggest concern out there. They didn't put in a traffic light and the left turn lane is not long enough, but all of that is out of our control. “That comes from their traffic study,” he said, referring to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
He said say plans are in place to keep all school buses from having to use the turn lane, which is meant to help with the traffic situation near the new school.
Additional things needed for the move will likely be coming out of the activity fund accounts of Jackson and Jefferson schools, which have now been combined and renamed Pauls Valley Elementary.
“This time last year our general fund was at $1.2 million. This year it's $600,000,” Martin said about the impact of COVID-19 on schools this year.
“We'll get some back from ad valorem when people pay their property taxes. We won't get the difference until next year with state aid. That's why right now we're spending as little as we can.”
Martin adds an electronic sign to be place in front of the new school will be donated by PV National Bank.