NICHOLS HILLS — Oklahoma City Public Schools officials are trying to figure out why the site for a new gym at Nichols Hills Elementary School is in the wrong place.
Construction has stopped at the school, 1301 W Wilshire Blvd.
The gym originally was set to be built along McKinley Avenue, which is on the east side of the school property, but construction has begun on the west side of the property.
The issue came up when a group of concerned residents addressed the school board at its July 16 meeting.
The residents live in the 8000 block of Glenwood Avenue, which abuts the back of the school property. They became concerned about construction when a tall pad of dirt was laid in anticipation of a foundation.
The site pad is taller than most fences, said resident John Heatly, who is president of the Oklahoma County Bar Association.
A gym stacked on top would be bad for property values, he said.
The residents have protested with city and MAPS officials, but they asked the school board for something better, Heatly said.
“Our group is prepared to move forward with litigation,” Heatly told the board at the meeting.
“ ... We're ready to go to the other forum if we don't get relief soon.”
The school board voted unanimously to stop construction until an investigation of the situation was complete.
“It gives us time to investigate some further issues,” said Phil Horning, vice chairman of the Oklahoma City School Board. “The issue we have to look at confirming is whether there's a suitable alternative location at the site.”
Whether to move the site back to its original location will come down to a variety of factors, such as cost and time, said Jim Burkey, chief operations officer for the district.
“What were the reasons behind this decision?” Burkey said.
“The architect didn't just go out there and randomly decide this is the place to put it.”
Burkey said he hopes for a quick resolution.