The start of the next school year for Tulsa Public Schools is just over a month away and crews are hard at work making changes to Clinton West Elementary because it used to be a middle school.
The reason for the changes is because the school board voted to close and consolidate some schools on Tulsa's west side in an effort to make up for the lack of state funding.
"We have some teachers that just about have their classrooms ready for kids already," said the school’s new principal, Phaedra Shipley.
New bathroom fixtures are in, and new lower drinking fountains are installed.
"We have pre-K with us, and kindergarten students that are, of course, shorter and tinier, and so it will just make it nicer for them and make it feel like an elementary school," Shipley said.
The new Clinton West Elementary will have more than 470 students. They will come from Remington Elementary, Park Elementary and ECDC Porter.
All three west side schools were closed as part of the district's plan to save money.
Shipley said, "It is the harsh reality of a need that was the result of state funding being short."
She said making the students feel like it’s their home is critical.
"We're bringing the best from Remington, the best from Park, the best from Porter and putting it all together," she said.
That's why updated playground equipment has been installed, and the birds from Remington are there to make it feel more like an elementary school and less like a pre-teen stomping ground.
Shipley said they are on schedule to have the work finished by the start of the school year - just in time to welcome the first class at Clinton West Elementary.
"We took care of our babies at each of our buildings, so we are ready to take care of them here," she said.
All the middle schoolers who were going there will now go to Webster, which was voted by the board to be a split middle and high school for the coming year.
The district said it will hold orientation for pre-K and kindergarten students from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 25, 2017. It said there will also be an open house at the new elementary school sometime before the start of the year on August 21st.