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Bond issues for safe rooms pass in Putnam City, Elmore City-Pernell, fail in Rush Springs

Putnam City school officials are moving forward with a plan to build 10 safe rooms in buildings around the district. Voters in the district approved a pair of school bond issues totaling $120 million Tuesday night.
BY SILAS ALLEN, Staff Writer Published: August 26, 2014
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Putnam City school officials are moving forward with a plan to build 10 safe rooms in buildings around the district.

Voters in the district approved a pair of school bond issues totaling $120 million Tuesday night. The proposals were among several bond issues involving school safe rooms in districts around the state.

The first bond proposal gives the district $119 million for a new building to replace Capps Middle School, 10 safe rooms in schools around the district and several other projects district officials say are badly needed. That proposal passed with 65.6 percent of the vote.

A second proposal provides $1 million for new school buses. That proposal passed with 64.2 percent of the vote. Both proposals needed 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Putnam City Superintendent Fred Rhodes said the relatively wide margin of victory shows that the community appreciates what district officials hope to do. The district, which is in its 100th year, has generally enjoyed the support of the community, Rhodes said.

Rhodes said the district would receive the first installment of bond funding, a $14 million payment, in January. Construction of safe rooms will be the first project to be completed, Rhodes said. Work is expected to begin on the new middle school in about three years, he said.

Rush Springs

In Rush Springs, an $8.9 million bond issue that would have built a new middle school failed by just two votes.

District officials had hoped to build a new school to replace the 60-year-old building that now houses Rush Springs Middle School. Four classrooms, a hallway and restrooms in the central part of the building would have been built as safe rooms.

Rush Springs Superintendent Mike Zurline said he planned to meet with the school board and bond committee to discuss what steps to take next.

The bond issue was a scaled-down version of a previous proposal that failed by 75 votes in March. Zurline said seeing the new measure fail by just a pair of votes was both encouraging and discouraging at the same time.

“(It’s) a little of both,” he said.

Zurline said the safe rooms would have been big enough to accommodate 1,290 people. That’s large enough to provide shelter for faculty, staff and students, as well as members of the community who need to take shelter during storms.

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