School of the Osage Assistant Superintendent Brad Yoder was pleased to announce construction updates at the regular board of education meeting held on Monday, June 25.

School of the Osage Assistant Superintendent Brad Yoder was pleased to announce construction updates at the regular board of education meeting held on Monday, June 25.

Voters approved a $23 million bond issue in April for a variety of improvements. Yoder outlined these areas of improvement and noted that all projects are running smoothly, on budget and on time thus far.

Phase one of the construction and reconstruction process includes a variety of projects with the main focus being on safety and security at the upper elementary school.

According to Yoder, new driving and parking lanes for employees and parents who drop off and pick up their children should be in place by the beginning of the 2018-19 school year. School busses will also have a new area for loading and unloading students.

"We're hopeful that this area of construction will be completed by the beginning of the upcoming school year," stated Yoder, adding that construction of the parking area began the day after the school year ended. "We'll be holding a meeting on July 19 to discuss community communications on the new drop off procedures so parents and students will know how to properly use the new lanes," stated Yoder.

As for the inside of the upper elementary school, a new and more secure entrance is being reconstructed by adding a new vestibule.

"The addition of the vestibule will make the school much safer and follow the lines of the other schools, so visitors can't just walk right into the school," stated Yoder, adding that this was an important issue from the start.

"All of the changes at the upper elementary school are being done with security in mind, so these changes were a priority for us, right off the bat," stated Yoder.

The assistant superintendent went on to explain that there are also improvements taking place on the inside of some of the campus buildings. Improvements include painting the interior of the high school gymnasium. The gym will also see new lighting, as well as a few new basketball backboards that will raise and lower. New bleachers are currently being specially fabricated off-site and should be installed during Christmas break of the upcoming school year.

One of the largest visible changes during the first phase of construction will be the addition of a new field house, which will sit near the existing field house. Construction of the new facility is slated to begin within the next two weeks.

The new 9,000 square foot facility will be two-stories and include locker rooms and a storm shelter in the bottom; while the top floor will contain a new community room, possible offices and additional classroom space. Yoder said the estimated square footage will include outdoor space as well.

The existing field house will see a makeover that will include additional locker room space, restrooms and a larger concession area. Color selections for the exterior are said to be grey with highlights and logos.

The 10-year battle of standing water at the front entrance of the middle school will become a thing of the past, as the drainage issue will be worked on this summer.

"The drainage issue at the middle school has been a problem since the building was built a decade ago, so we are happy to get that under control," stated Yoder. Yoder also explained that final construction drawings will be completed by July 25, with another bid for new updates at the high school.

The board also discussed possible construction work that will begin in October on the early childhood center and Heritage campus.

"I am excited the we can provide our kids so many opportunities and we're so thankful the voters approved the bond, understood that safety for the kids in our community is a priority. I think even more thankful are the students who are excited about the opportunities, as well. This is a good place and these changes are good for the entire community," stated Yoder.

While the changes are already starting to take place, Yoder said the completion date for all construction projects will take place by the end of 2019.

The School of the Osage district enrollment totals approximately 2,000 in grades K-12, with approximately 150 additional students in the early childhood program. To keep track of construction changes, progress and new driving and drop off procedures, visit www.osageschools.org and click on the upper elementary improvements flag at the top of the home page.