BARTLESVILLE voters to decide Tuesday on school bond issue package

Saturday, May 5th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Bartlesville Schools will ask voters to approve the largest bond issue in city history on Tuesday, May 8th. The bulk of the $30.5-million package would renovate and expand Bartlesville High School.

KOTV's Glenda Silvey says Bartlesville High School, built in 1939, is beloved in the community. In the late 80's, citizens soundly defeated a bond proposal for a new high school near a local mall. But school officials say the fine old building presents some frustrating limitations, among them, science labs below minimum state standards for size. Students conduct experiments on tables set around the perimeter of the room. Teacher, Granger Meador, "We have lines of kids around the wall with their backs to me trying to do their physics work, of course that makes it impossible for me to supervise them properly.

New science classrooms are included in the school bond package calling for some $22-million in improvements to the high school. Plans also call for a new field house, library media center and 1,200-seat auditorium. The current one seats only half the student body, and has neither curtain nor stage lighting.

Students say the hope the bond issue passes. Daniel Jones, "Well, we love our school how it is, but we really need the improvements." Students created a video tour pointing out their peeves about the building, including the cramped library, band and music rooms. Supporters of the bond issue believe most citizens are solidly behind it. President of the school board, Dr. Alan Eastman, "We have one citizen who believes our board filing was illegal, but our legal counsel and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association tell us we're completely within the law."

The expansion is designed in keeping with the high school's streamlined art deco style. Bond supporter’s say besides improving the learning environment, the package preserves a significant architectural landmark important to many. Dr Eastman adds, "The community has spoken out before and made it very clear they do want this building to be anything but Bartlesville High School, and so we hope they'll invest in it to make it the high school it should be for the next century."

The remainder of the bond package includes transportation, technology and maintenance.