EL RENO — On April 1, Canadian Valley Technology Center district voters will consider a school bond that would help pay construction costs of rebuilding the El Reno Campus that was destroyed by a May 31 tornado.
If approved, the school bond will add less than $1 per month in ad valorem taxes on a $100,000 home or property, Superintendent Greg Winters said. The total amount of the proposed bond is $12 million.
“We are asking for taxpayers’ help to build back what we had in El Reno,” Winters said. “Our plans include constructing five safe rooms and replacing nine buildings with only two buildings. This will keep construction costs lower, minimize future upkeep and maximize building efficiency.”
Most of the rest of the campus was bulldozed, although concrete and iron supports were salvaged wherever possible.
The school’s insurance settlement does not cover the costs of safe rooms or modifications needed to bring the buildings up to current code standards. Roads and parking lots are additional costs necessary to assure the safety of patrons and students.
“God forbid another tornado strikes the campus again, but I want our students to be safe if one does,” Winters said. “It’s my intent to make this the safest technology center in the nation.”
Most of the high school and adult students formerly trained in El Reno have been relocated to a former car dealership building in Yukon that the school is leasing.
“We are fortunate the John Holt Chevrolet building was available to us,” Winters said. “But we have every intention of returning to the El Reno facility. The tornado took out seven buildings, but the skeleton structure remaining has a value of $4 million.
“From an economic standpoint, it makes no sense to walk away from that. We’re going to use all of what remains in the footprint of our rebuilt facility.”
The school’s business and industry services division already has returned to the El Reno Campus. The extreme west end of the campus sustained largely roof and water damage and reopened in September after repairs.
Canadian Valley also has a smaller facility in south Yukon, the Dr. Earl Cowan Campus, and a campus in Chickasha. The school’s facilities are used for daytime and evening classes and for business and industry training.
Canadian Valley’s mission since opening in August 1970 is to prepare people to succeed through quality career and technical education programs and services.
Partner school districts are Alex, Amber-Pocasset, Banner, Bethany, Calumet, Chickasha, Darlington, El Reno, Friend, Maple, Minco, Mustang, Ninnekah, Piedmont, Pioneer, Riverside, Rush Springs, Tuttle, Union City and Yukon.
Bill Kramer is communications and marketing coordinator for Canadian Valley Technology Center.