Owen Elementary Counts On TPS Bond Approval For Classroom Expansion

Saturday, February 28th 2015, 7:41 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public Schools has one of the biggest bond votes in state history coming up. If the bond is passed, TPS wants to expand and remodel schools to handle more students.

There is a small trailer court outside of Owen Elementary. There are six trailers total, and all of them are in use, all designed to be temporary and portable, but there's a problem; they have all been there longer than most of the staff can remember.

Making portable buildings work as well as permanent space is all but impossible, but teachers like Susannah Henson give it a try. "It would be really nice to have a square classroom instead of a really, really long rectangular one," stated Henson.

The school uses trailers for the smallest groups of students , like those in special education or English classes. The trailers are a necessity, because there is no room left in the school's main building; every spot in there is taken. "Every inch of space we have is being used," says Owen Principal Erica Foshee-Moore.

Principal Foshee-Moore says because the trailers are unattached to the building, for safety, the children have to have an adult with them to go back and forth. In elementary school, that can take a lot of time. "If anybody has to go to the bathroom, everybody has to go," she explained.

If the bond passes, the trailers will be replaced with permanent classrooms that are much larger.

Two of them will serve as safe rooms for the school, and children will no longer have to leave the trailers to take shelter inside. The children also will no longer have to worry about the rain being so loud on the roof that it's hard to talk over. "We turn on the weather so we can check and say, ‘look there are no tornado warnings; we're ok,' but when you're trying to teach the ABC's, it gets in the way," Henson elaborated.

The bond work at Owen includes new playground equipment, and other smaller improvements to the building, but nothing as pressing as giving students a permanent place to learn.