MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

August 2, 2013

Haskell will have kids covered

Corridor among bond issue projects near completion

HASKELL — Mary White Elementary School students will have protection from the weather when they go to lunch this year.

A new corridor between the classrooms and cafeteria is expected to be “useable” when Haskell starts school Thursday, Superintendent Sharon Herrington said. However, the exterior walls might not be finished until two weeks after that, she said.

“We have had delays on it due to the rains in July,” she said.

The corridor was among projects in a $2.71 million school bond issue that Haskell Public Schools voters passed in 2012. It also included a new football field house and home-side bleachers at A.B. Shockley Stadium; a new field house, dugout and fences for the softball field; and new sloping roofs at Haskell High School, middle school, annex and cafeteria.

The elementary school corridor replaces an aluminum-covered walkway between Mary White school’s classroom and cafeteria.

Elementary Principal Rylee Zaragoza said the corridor “will keep our kids warm and dry when we go from one building to the next.”

Zaragoza said the school has about 440 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

“They just keep coming,” she said, adding that enrollment has been busy “the last couple of weeks.”

Herrington said the roofs have all been replaced.

“The only thing unexpected we had to replace were a bunch of air conditioners,” she said.

New home-side bleachers could be in place by the time the Haymakers play their first home game at the end of August, high school football coach and athletic director Greg Wilson said. However, the new field house and lockers will not be ready, he said, adding that the Haymakers will change clothes and work out in the district event center adjoining the stadium.

Shockley Stadium’s old field house and bleachers, built as a concrete structure in 1984, have been demolished, Wilson said. The old bleachers were on top of the field house and not accessible to handicapped people.

“The new plan is to have the bleachers in front of the field house,” Wilson said. “The anticipated installation day for the bleachers is Aug. 15.

The softball improvements should be ready by the start of the spring slow-pitch softball season, he said.

Rain held back some of the projects, Wilson said. “We didn’t expect that much rain in July,” he said.

Herrington said other projects, not funded by the bond issue, are expected to be ready when school starts.

A classroom at the elementary school and at the high school are being converted into special education classrooms, she said.

Herrington said Haskell had been sending its special education students to a cooperative program operated by several districts. She said Haskell had too many students to keep transporting them to classes in Oktaha.

“Rather than busing them over there, these guys need to be here,” she said. “We had to hire a special education teacher for each site.”

Haskell also renovated its home economics classroom and elementary school restrooms, she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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