TPS Reopening Closed School With New Twist
TULSA, Oklahoma - A TPS school closed during consolidation will reopen. The district voted to reopen the Mayo School building, near 31st and Mingo, a year from now.
The building has been empty since the Mayo Demonstration School moved out and into a larger building.
Now, Tulsa Public Schools proposed a neighborhood school with a twist, with elementary through 8th grade in one building.
The Mayo Building was used as an elementary school from 1973 until 2012 when it was closed and the students moved to a larger building.
Former students were invited in to say goodbye with the presumption it would likely never be needed as a traditional school again; but that’s changed.
"Here we are in the east part of town, lots of growth, student enrollment is growing and we just don't have room for all these kids in the buildings that we've got," said TPS Chief of Staff, Amy Polonchek.
The district wants to remodel and enlarge Mayo to hold about 400 students in grades from kindergarten through 8th. The idea is based on research that shows children who stay longer in one school building often do better and the parents stay more involved as well.
"You can do a lot of things in that setting that you can't do with the separate junior high, middles school model, and that's what we were looking at in 2010 with the 6th grade in elementary model," Polonchek said.
The district is also dealing with crowded schools on the east side, with a lot of Spanish-speaking children.
The new Mayo would relieve pressure on schools, like Disney and Cooper, where classrooms are filled to capacity.
It would undergo a substantial remodel and have twice as many students as before.
"I think opening it as a school is a great idea for the kids around here. They're not having to be bussed around into other areas; walk to school, do it the old school way, how we used to do it," said Laine Moody who lives just down the road from the school
The district hopes to start remodeling immediately and open the school next fall.
The attendance boundary is still uncertain, but Polonchek said Mayo can be a reliever school and make room for a new school model at the same time.
"It turns out that it's going to be of good use to us, to relieve overcrowding and to put an innovative program in for children and offer parents another option," Polonchek said.
The district will hold community meetings this fall to talk with parents who would have children going to this building.