May 2020 Bond Projects Update
Post date: May 30, 2020 6:18:28 PM
Projects and programs funded by the 2019 bond issue continue to progress despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Some students will have virtual learning experiences this summer made possible by technology purchased via bond funding, and many will be able to take advantage of new and improved facilities in the coming school year.
The new pressbox atop Custer Stadium is ahead of schedule and will be ready before classes start in August. It features vastly improved facilities for community media, home and visitor coaches, visiting media, and student media, along with a small hospitality room. All of the rooms and a video balcony provide sweeping views of Lyon Field in a much more comfortable environment than the 65-year-old metal shed that sat atop the stadium since its construction.
Two of the media rooms in the new pressbox, with the video balcony on the far left
An elevator in the alley on the west side of the stadium will provide handicapped access to the pressbox. The elevator will also stop at the top concession stand level of the interior of the stadium, making it easier to load the concession stands versus using the original dumbwaiter from 1954.
The new agriculture building is being constructed on the south end of the Bartlesville High School (BHS) campus across 18th Street and just west of the Bruin Activity Center indoor practice facility.
The northern end of the building will be an agricultural mechanics lab with welding capability, a tool room, and garage door.
Future agriculture mechanics lab
The southern end of the building will have two classrooms able to accommodate both Marty Jones, who started the district's agriculture education program in 2019-2020, and new hire Cameron Dale, who will be teaching 8th-grade agriculture orientation classes at Central and Madison middle schools and Agriscience 1 at BHS.
Future classroom space in the new agriculture building
Other Summer Construction Projects
At Central Middle School, a road cut into Cherokee Avenue off the north end of the parking lot on the north side of Central will allow that lot to function as a student pick-up and drop-off loop before and after school, relieving some of the congestion on Cherokee Avenue.
There will also be parking improvements at Ranch Heights Elementary School.
Madison Middle School will have additional work to finish replacing the last remnants of the original HVAC systems, which date back to when the facility was built as Sooner High School in 1966. A new serving line will be installed in what is now the Commons, located in the former Sooner High shop area, to support meal service relocated from the original cafeteria, where the old steam tables had reached their end of life.
Work will proceed on installing a motorized lift for the orchestra pit at the Fine Arts Center at Bartlesville High School. Since its opening in 2003, when not in use the pit has had to be manually converted into a stage extension by a system of scaffolding and flooring. The motorized lift will eliminate many man-hours of work for conversions each year, increasing the functionality of the superb facility.
Virtual Summer Schools
The district has four summer school programs in June, with two continuing on into July. All four are able to be virtual programs thanks to Chromebooks and hotspots funded by the 2016 and 2019 bond issues.
About 100 elementary school students were selected for and enrolled in the Summer Boost program, which will run from June 1-June 25. Their parents can check out a new Chromebook and, if needed, a cellular hotspot for internet service. The initial wave of devices were distributed at a drive-through at BHS on May 28, and the Chromebooks will be returned on June 26.
Over 140 students have enrolled in a Virtual Summer Academy at Jane Phillips Elementary, which will run from June 1-July 16, again with available Chromebooks and hotspots.
The teachers in both elementary programs have been training on using the Google Classroom learning management platform to help provide lessons, and students can also draw upon both free and district-paid online services.
Students who are not in summer school can still use online services linked at BPSLEARN.COM.
Virtual Summer School for grades 6-8 is being offered June 1-22 and is being offered for grades 9-12 in two sessions, from June 1-22 and also June 29-July 20. The students will be using the take-home Chromebooks they were issued for the 2019-2020 school year. The program will make use of the Canvas Learning Management System which, like almost all district technology services, is funded by bond issues. Cellular hotspots have been available for students in grades 6-12 since early April.
Students in summer programs can swap out devices as needed on Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. at BHS through July 15, except for July 1. If it rains on a Wednesday, that swap shifts to Thursday.
Preparing for Distance Learning in 2020-2021
We expect that some students may elect to remain in Distance Learning when classes begin in August, and health experts predict periodic school closures might be needed in 2020-2021 with an expected surge in viral cases in autumn and winter. So the district will be working through the summer to outfit classroom Chromebook carts for grades 3-5 and has ordered 2,200 additional Chromebooks for PreKindergarten through 2nd grade, which are expected to be available in early autumn. A mix of bond issue and federal stimulus funding is being used, and spare Chromebooks purchased with bond funding will be available for students whose families elect to remain in Distance Learning. Additional cellular hotspots will be purchased via a $100,000 grant from Phillips 66 via the Bartlesville Regional United Way.
Chromebook carts like these are expected to be in every classroom from 3rd through 5th grade in August, with carts of touchscreen Chromebooks in every PreKindergarten through 2nd Grade classroom in early autumn
Bond issues also fund the electronic textbooks and services for subjects such as English, math, science, and social studies, and many different paid online services which students access via the Clever portal.
Remind, New Websites, and Mobile App
Annual bond issue funding for technology services is also allowing the district to update its communications. Enhanced Remind messaging services were purchased for 2019-2020 and became vital for many parent and student communications when the pandemic forced the schools into Distance Learning in April and May. Later this summer the district will launch new websites and a mobile app, the latter available for both Android and Apple iOS devices.
New district websites and a mobile app will launch later this summer.
During the May shutdown of the school buildings, new Promethean ActivPanels, which are large touchscreens with built-in apps and connections to teachers' classroom stations, were installed in every classroom at Ranch Heights, Wayside, and Wilson elementary schools. These replaced the older ActivBoard "electronic whiteboards", which relied entirely on a teacher's desktop computer and ceiling-mounted projectors.
The three remaining elementary schools will be updated from ActivBoards to ActivPanels in the summer of 2021. The best of the displaced ActivBoards are being repurposed for over a dozen remaining classrooms at Bartlesville High School which have ceiling projectors but are not yet equipped with electronic whiteboards. Now almost every classroom in the district will have a wall with interactive touch capability for teacher use and, when safety protocols and measures allow it, for student interaction.
On-Going Operational Expenses
The bond issues also continue to provide annual funding for STEM, science, athletics, fine arts, furniture, maintenance, safety, and transportation needs across the district. Thanks to the regular investment by the voters within the district, it will continue to be a great time to a Bruin.