By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
KILDARE — Kildare Public School (KPS) is looking to the future to continue educating area students, and with a $2 million bond, they are now upgrading the facility to improve the school with much-needed changes, which should increase educational opportunities at the school for many years to come.
On a cold winter afternoon, Superintendent-Principal Bruce Shelley offered a short tour of the construction, and is positive about the future of the school following the project.
“I’m excited to get it all completed, and our hope is to have it all finished by the time school starts next year,” he said.
Although the bond was worth $2 million, additional funds will be provided by KPS an estimated total cost of $2.4 million.
“The extra funds are out of the school building fund, and we’re going to do some things to enhance the project,” Shelley said.
The project is under construction by Hembree & Hodges Const., Ponca City. Construction initially began in August 2020, near the start of the current school year, primarily concerning preliminary work.
“They’ve started work, and have done a lot of ground preparation, cement work and planning,” Shelley said.
Heavier work was recently started around Christmas Break, as equipment and materials have been brought on to the property situated on the north side of the school.
The project addresses many upgrades to the school, with many focusing on the school’s gym, which is used for both physical education and basketball games, as well as school assemblies.
“The main things are expanding our gym, to have more capacity for more people to attend events,” Shelley said.
As part of that expansion, the north side will be extended outward for more bleachers, thus increasing space for parents and fans. There will also be a new gym floor and roof, as well as new changing rooms for teams and ADA-compliant restrooms.
The school cafeteria is also receiving a new roof.
While the gym is expanding to the north, there is additional construction on the same lot, with a new school bus barn to house the buses. In between the gym and bus barn will be a new water tank that will be used for a new fire suppression sprinkler system for the gym.
There are plenty of other improvements slated for the project. A secondary classroom building is situated adjacent to the main facility, and current work is the construction of a covered sidewalk to protect students in inclement weather. The main entrance will also be secured.
“It has a camera and voice box at the front entrance,” Shelley said.
Several rooms are also being expanded to make room for a growing student body, he said.
The projects are slated to be finished this summer, in time for the new school year, and administrators are excited about the prospect for a better facility going forward.