Stillwater News Press

Local News

October 22, 2013

Will Rogers Elementary students, educators open new school

STILLWATER, Okla. — Classes were in session for the first time Tuesday in the new Will Rogers Elementary School.

Teachers began moving classroom material into their new rooms last week, and spent much of the fall break preparing for the first day in the new school.

Fifth-grade teacher Jason Harrison said his students were excited about the new facility.

“We took a trip back to the old school to get our flags and other materials, and they were blown away by how new and how incredible this is,” he said. “They love the space in the hallways, the color, the design of the entire building. They love the openness of the new cafeteria, and the gym is huge. They just are incredibly excited with everything.”

As recently as last week, the new building was a construction site with ladders, materials, cables and crews spread throughout classrooms and hallways. But in less than a week, finishing touches were completed to make it a functioning and safe school site.

“Two or three days before it opened, it seemed so chaotic, the same as it was at Highland Park,” said Phil Storm, chief financial officer for the district. “This is an amazing transformation.”

Tuesday’s school opening came on the heels of the opening of the new Highland Park Elementary School at the beginning of the school year. Total cost of the two construction projects was about $42 million, paid for by the passage of a $61.5 million bond issue in February 2011.

Crews will be working on a punch list that still needs to be completed, including touch-up painting, trim repairs and ceiling tile repair.

“Nothing that we can’t take care of fairly easy,” said John Lawler, site construction manager for Lambert Construction.

When the old building is cleared away, parking lots will be installed on the south side of the new school and a driveway so parents can drop off and pick up their children. Until then, bus and van traffic will be restricted to Mustang Lane on the north side of the new facility.

 

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