Bixby Public Schools broke ground Wednesday on a new building that will be home to Bixby West Elementary and Intermediate Schools.
The new campus near 151st and Harvard, expected to open in 2020, will serve hundreds of pre-k through sixth graders. The elementary and intermediate schools will share the building, but they will operate as separate schools with their own gyms, classrooms, and playgrounds.
Back in 2016, Bixby voters approved a nearly $143 million bond issue, which included funding for the construction of the new schools.
Fourth grader Elise Farmer was at the groundbreaking and got to see pictures of what the new school will look like. She says she “like[s] going to school in Bixby because there are big libraries in the schools … and the teachers are all very nice.”
Aside from big libraries, the new school will be a big convenience for parents who have children in both grade levels.
“After this year, they wouldn’t be on the same campus together, so coming to Bixby West, they will be very close for a few years,” said parent Melissa Collis. “That makes my mama heart very happy.”
Superintendent Rob Miller says safety will also be a top priority, with the new building featuring security vestibules and requiring visitors to scan their drivers licenses before getting past the locked doors.
“It is scary sometimes sending your kids to school knowing they’re on lockdown, or going on lockdown, or things like that, and what to do,” said Collis. “You’re not in control, so the more control the school has to protect your children the better, as far as I’m concerned.”
With the Bixby school district growing as fast as it is – about five percent a year – construction like this could become a regular occurrence. The district went from 5,500 students six years ago to 6,700 now and they expect to reach 8,000 students in about five years.
Once these schools open, Bixby will re-district and then begin working on the current Central Elementary and Intermediate to give those buildings a facelift.