By SEAN ROWLEY
Some hurdles still remain to be jumped, but Keys Public Schools could have a new room for the band program as early as the start of the 2014-’15 academic year.
If constructed, the room would also serve as a shelter during tornados or other natural disasters.
“We’re in discussions with the architect and the funding needs to be worked out,” said Billie Jordan, KPS superintendent. “We also need to present our plan to the school board and receive approval. Our goal is to have it ready by the start of the school year, but we will be cutting it close.”
The need for a band room is a recent development for KPS.
“This is our first full year with a band program,” Jordan said. “It was a pilot program during the spring term last year. Right now, the band is in a single room at the elementary school. We have to transport our band students back and forth between the schools.”
Jordan believes the board will support a well-planned, cost-effective project.
“There is a lot of excitement about this,” she said. “The room will be very basic and above-ground. It will be just big enough to hold the entire student body at the high school.”
However, there are still a few steps to take before a plan can be presented for consideration.
“We still need to finalize some details of the structure with the architect,” Jordan said. “We also need to complete our plans for funding. Working through the building fund, we have $120,000 available for the project.”
Jordan said the district was contacted by District 3 Cherokee County Commissioner Mike Ballard about the possibility of joint funding for the project.
“He explained that the county has some money available to fund the construction of a safe room, so we thought there could be a partnership to build a dual purpose room at the high school,” she said.
County support for the project would come from funds through the Eastern Oklahoma Development District (eoddok.org), a cooperative association of local governments.
Construction of the new room would be behind the high school, on its east side, and could be the first of a series of enhancements to the building.
“We really want to get a new roof on the cafeteria,” Jordan said. “We need to find the funding, but there are other projects we would like to undertake in the next few years.”