Construction is nearly complete on the first round of new gymnasiums being built at nearly every Oklahoma City elementary school.
New gyms will be built at 47 of the 55 elementary schools in the district. The schools that aren’t receiving new gyms already have them, said Jim Burkey, chief operations officer for the Oklahoma City School District.
A $248 million bond issue that passed in 2007 is funding a variety of projects, including transportation, infrastructure, technology and the renovation of stadiums at Taft Middle School and Capitol Hill High School.
The bond also included about $107 million for the elementary school gyms and 54 classrooms.
The first round of construction is nearly complete on classrooms and gyms at Coolidge, Van Buren and Hayes elementary schools.
Classrooms and gyms are about 70 percent finished at West Nichols Hills, Nichols Hills and Monroe elementary schools, Burkey said.
The same is true for Wheeler Elementary, which is only receiving new classrooms.
At its meeting Monday, the Oklahoma City School Board is expected to consider opening bids for the third group of schools: Parmalee, Hillcrest and Pierce elementary schools.
Final plans are in the works for the rest of the schools.
Schools that are receiving gyms and classrooms will be built first, and schools that will only receive gyms will be built after, Burkey said.
Burkey said he expects gym construction across the district to wrap up in the next two years or so.
To make the process go quickly, officials have been using a design template for the gyms, Burkey said. All the gyms are about 6,500 square feet.
The gyms replace multiuse rooms that doubled as lunch rooms and auditoriums.
The old gyms “limited the amount of time that kids could spend in physical education,” Burkey said. “This is going to provide a brand new instructional facility for these kids.”
The new gyms also will provide after-school meeting space for community groups such as parent-teacher associations, Burkey said.