GUYMON, OK (KAMR/KCIT) — Officials with Guymon Public Schools recently released information on a upcoming vote on a $75.9 million bond, continuing the school system’s growth after an initial 2017 bond issue.
Guymon Public Schools will host a bond election Oct. 12, potentially changing the way the school system as a whole is structured. According to the system’s website on the bond, the measure will pass if 60% of voters vote in favor of the bond. The final day to register to vote in this bond election is Sept. 17,
This comes after the Guymon voters approved a school-related bond project in 2017. According to previous reports by MyHighPlains.com, the 2017 bond was more than $20 million, centered around repairing and remodeling schools. The 2017 bond passed with 70% of the vote.
What changes will occur if the 2021 bond is approved?
Officials with the district said that the 2021 plan would address three main needs: safety and security, additional classrooms, and improved facilities. Through these changes, some schools would be demolished and some grade levels will be moved to other campuses, among other changes.
For pre-kindergarten students, the Carrier Early Childhood Center will continue to serve as their campus. Prairie Elementary, the system’s newest campus, will serve all kindergarten and first grade students, “thanks to the previous generosity of local voters,” according to the website.
All students in second grade through fifth grade will be taught at North Park Elementary School, with separate wings being established: one for second grade and third grade and then one for fourth grade and fifth grade. Each wing will have its own gym, cafeteria and set of classrooms.
If the bond passes, North Park Elementary is expected to receive the following:
- An additional 32 classrooms;
- Tornado safe rooms;
- A sprinkler system;
- Secure entrance.
If the bond passes, Guymon Junior High would transition to a campus serving students from sixth grade to eighth grade. The campus is expected to receive the following:
- An additional 16 new classrooms, replacing the portable buildings currently behind the school;
- A renovated library media center;
- A renovated cafeteria and kitchen;
- A new commons area;
- A secure entrance;
- A sprinkler system;
- Tornado safe rooms.
Guymon High School would also see some changes if the bond passed, including:
- 15 new classrooms;
- Tornado safe rooms;
- A sprinkler system; A secure entrance;
- Renovated restrooms.
Officials expect the additional classrooms would help the high school expand its “STEAM” related offerings, including science, technology, engineering, art and math, as well as other career-related programs.
Officials said on the website that a portion of the 2021 bond would also be used to address other needs throughout the Guymon Public Schools system like improvements for performing arts, music, athletics and technology. The technology portion would provide electrical outlets and “additional infrastructure” to ensure the district’s “1:1” technology program, allowing a Chromebook or iPad to be used by every student.
What would happen to the other Guymon Public Schools campuses?
If passed, this bond would reduce the number of campuses in the school system from nine to five. According to the website, the school system would only include Pre-Kindergarten– Carrier Early Childhood Center, Prairie Elementary, North Park Elementary School, Guymon Junior High School and Guymon High School.
According to the system’s website, officials believe reducing the number of school buildings would allow the district to provide “better learning environments for students” as well as save costs on utilities, maintenance and operations.
If the bond passes, three campuses would be not in use: Academy B & C, Northeast and Homer Long. According to the plan, Northeast would be torn down to help the expansion of North Park and Academy B & C would be torn down so the junior high expansion can occur. Officials expect Homer Long to be repurposed for another use by the district or the community in the future.
According to the website, Academy A would be used to serve sixth grade students during construction of the campuses, with Academy A’s gym remaining for future use.
Why do Guymon Public Schools officials believe this 2021 bond is necessary?
According to the Guymon Public Schools website, the school system’s board of education first developed a long-term facility plan about five years ago, culminating in an initial 2017 bond issue.
The 2017 bond was used to add eight classrooms, bathrooms, a library and technology space, safe rooms, as well as a gym and cafeteria for Prairie Elementary. Bond funds, along with other sources of money, were also used to replace the flooring in the elementary schools and the high school, install new seating in the junior high and high school auditoriums, purchase technology for a “1:1” initiative as well as complete improvements to athletic facilities.
Officials state that the remaining funds from the 2017 bond, combined with a federal grant, will be used to convert the boiler system at Guymon High School to a “more reliable” heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.
The initial needs were brought to the attention of the board because of spikes in enrollment for the district. According to the website, enrollment increased from 2,492 students in 2008 to 2,958 students in 2020. Officials are expecting enrollment to continue to grow, potentially to 3,347 students by 2028.
“We have carefully studied enrollment trends and data as well as had the condition of our buildings thoroughly assessed,” the website read. “We continue to have many needs; in fact, $150 million worth of needs were initially identified through our work.”
Because of this, officials stated on the website that more than 25 community members came together to determine what priorities should be completed in the next phase of renovations.
“They looked at what would be the best solution for students and for taxpayers,” the website read. “After months of work and difficult decisions, they have recommended the current plan, which is half the amount of initially identified needs.”
If passed, what impact will the 2021 bond have on the taxpayers?
According to the website, the bonds will be financed for 20 years. The impact on the taxpayers will depend on the assessed valuation of an individual’s home.
- For homes valued at $100,000, officials expect property taxes to be raised around $11.56 per month;
- For homes valued at $150,000, officials expect property taxes to be raised around $17.82 per month.
Because the average value of a home in Guymon is around $124,000, officials state property taxes are expected to be raised around $14.72 per month.
If passed, what is the timeline for the new bond projects?
Officials anticipate all bond-related improvements and additions to be completed in about two years, according to the website. The large projects will be completed in phases, with the order potentially being North Park Elementary, Guymon Junior High and Guymon High School.
How can you vote in the bond election?
According to the website, polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 12. Early voting will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 7-8 at the Election Board, located in the Courthouse Annex at 301 N. Main in Guymon. For individuals voting by absentee ballot, individuals can request a ballot online until Oct. 5.
The final day to register to vote for the bond election is Sept. 17. Individuals can register online or by visiting the Election Board between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Election Board, located at 301 N. Main in Guymon.
This is a developing story. Check back with MyHighPlains.com for more information.