By Everett Brazil, III
The Newkirk Herald Journal
KILDARE — Kildare Public Schools’ gym has been noticeably silent this school year. What normally would have been an exciting basketball season has upended the school’s schedule for 2021 – 2022. That is soon changing, however, as the school’s renovation projects are nearing completion, and students and staff are looking forward to finishing the season in an overhauled facility.
Renovations at the school are part of a $2 million bond, passed Nov. 12, 2019, with 37 votes in favor of the measure, and seven against the proposal.
The measure was proposed for school improvements, with funding paid by tax payers along with taxes paid by Duke Energy Renewables Frontier Windpower II , which was built near Kildare, Newkirk and Ponca City.
“The voters of the district passed a bond measure for school improvements,” Superintendent Bruce Shelley said. “The wind farm will pay their share, based on the value of their business, and they are the biggest business in our district.”
The bulk of the project focuses in the gym, which while will benefit the school, has also temporarily had adverse implications on the teams.
“All home games have had to be cancelled or rescheduled for a later days,” Shelley said.
Renovations inside the gym include a new floor, complete with the Kildare Bulldog mascot at half court. A new heating and air conditioning system has been installed, and the stands have been increased, both upward and outward, to accommodate more fans due to an increasing student body.
“For some of our games, there is not enough room, sitting on the stage and court, that is not a good thing,” administrative assistant Amy Horinek said.
Those stands will also house new dressing rooms for the teams.
The entire gym has also been repainted, and the stage refurbished for school events. The final addition is the installation of a fire suppression sprinkler system.
The gym wasn’t the only part of the project.
The new dressing rooms under the stands is important, as several previous dressings have been converted to classroom space.
“We were out of room to house all the kids,” Horinek said. “We expanded two years ago to seventh grade, and a year ago to eighth grade, so we needed extra space.”
The roof above the cafeteria also has been addressed.
“It had a few leaks along the seams,” Shelley said.
A new bus barn is about to be finished, which will help with bus maintenance in winter months. A new sidewalk and awning will help students moving between buildings.
Energy efficiency has also been increased, with sealing of windows in three classrooms.
The only projects left are a connection of a water tank to the fire suppression system, and final inspections.
“We’re hoping to be completed by the end of the month,” Shelley said.
Once finished, KPS is looking forward to showcasing the new facility to the community, including competing in basketball.
“We’re excited to have the project complete (soon), and be able to show off our new facilities,” Shelley said.