Construction Projects End As Tulsa Schools Begin

Monday, August 17th 2015, 6:02 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Thousands of students head back to school this week, and parents and teachers aren't the only ones with a last-minute to-do list.

Workers are rushing to finish major renovations - which can only be done when school is out - at six Tulsa elementary schools.

Some still look like a huge mess, but work is speeding up to finish them this week.

Monday, there was a crowd of construction trucks and a dumpster just outside the door of Remington Elementary. In the optimistic view of Principal Cassandra Funderburk, it’s proof that a summer-long renovation is just about done.

"When you walk into Remington, it's like walking into a brand new school," she said.

Remington is getting the full treatment, and workers are doing something to every room, but it's not there yet.

In the fourth grade classroom of Randy Birr, there's not a single surface that's not new or newly painted.

“New carpet, new baseboard, it's basically a brand new room. It looks like they even put in a new dropped ceiling,” Birr said.

That means a lot of extra work.

Teachers had to move out completely, and they're moving back in this week; moving boxes are still lined up on the new carpet, by the new lockers, in the hallway with the new lighting.

"It's not like a hand-me-down; they can take pride in ownership and having a beautiful, clean new room,” Birr said.

The library is a little behind schedule - it's going to take another month to finish up - but work elsewhere in the building was given a higher priority.

Throughout the building, workers are still laying carpet and still preparing the walls for the final coat of paint.

What looks like a never ending job will be going almost around the clock until students walk in, and with only two full days left to work, the principal is confident it's going to be ready for students.

“They have touched every classroom - the cafeteria, the gym and the library - and there's parts, like the library, that won't quite be done, but we're still going to be using library books," Funderburk said.

The district installed fire sprinklers at eight schools over the summer and did smaller projects at most buildings.

For all of them, the district said the schools will be safe and ready to open Thursday.