With only one construction project left to get started at Tahlequah Public Schools, Superintendent Paul Hurst is pleased the ball is rolling.

“We started all of this two years ago with the city sales tax election,” said Hurst. “It’s amazing to me that we’ve made so much progress in the past two years. Construction really didn’t get under way until June 2004, so in the past year and a half, we’ve accomplished a great deal.”

Hurst, along with other TPS administrators, teachers, parents and members of the community, proposed a list of projects to overhaul Tahlequah’s schools with funding provided by a voter-approved sales tax and school bond election in 2004.

Several projects have already been completed, including renovations to restrooms at Greenwood and Sequoyah elementary schools; floor and wall renovations at the four elementary gymnasiums; HVAC addition to the Tahlequah Junior High School gymnasium; and a hallway enclosure at Sequoyah.

The Tahlequah High School tennis courts are undergoing their second renovation. The original work done by Patton Construction was deemed unsatisfactory by the school district. The concrete slab that serves as the base of the courts was removed and is being replaced by Patton.

“The east half of the tennis courts have already been reconstructed,” said Hurst. “Completion of the west half is scheduled for sometime next week. We’re very pleased with this installation, and we appreciate Alan Patton and Patton Construction for their attention to the quality of work they are completing.”

Once the slab is in place, the surface of the courts needs to be laid. That won’t happen until early spring due to the temperature-sensitive nature of the material.

Renovations of libraries at Greenwood and Cherokee are also nearing completion.

“We’re near completion on that with Girdner Construction,” said Hurst. “It’s good-quality work. We’re in the process acquiring bids for new shelving and furniture for those facilities.”

The libraries were overhauled, with old carpeting removed and walls revamped, among other things, to create a more environmentally pleasing space.

“It’s an entirely new atmosphere in the libraries,” said Hurst. “Our librarians were given nice temporary facilities and were pleased with what we could do for them on a temporary basis.”

Cherokee Elementary Principal Tanya Jones is excited about getting everything together for her school’s library.

“It’s going to look great when it’s done,” said Jones.

Hurst said all major work on the two libraries should be done within a week, with furniture arriving sometime between spring break and the end of the school term.

The district is also planning to remove wall paneling at Cherokee with new wall coverings over the summer and replace any of the tile floor in the building that hasn’t been removed yet.

One of the biggest changes in the district is at THS, with the addition of 15 classrooms and revamped administration offices at the front of the building.

“We anticipate that will be completed around April 1,” said Hurst. “We probably won’t do the punch list then, but work should be wrapped up by then.”

Hurst said the district had to re-order outside brick for masonry for the outside of the building.

“That project is taking shape nicely under Brewer Construction,” said Hurst. “It’s gone very well.”

The office of THS Principal Dr. Nick Migliorino, along with those of the counselors, will be moved to the new addition, as will some other administrative staff. The current principal’s office may temporarily be turned into an office for Athletic Director Randy Underwood during construction of the new THS Multipurpose Center, with other offices used for storage.

“We have a lot of work to do in moving the ninth grade up to the high school and working on the disbursement of staff in the building,” said Hurst. “Dr. Migliorino and Mr. [Terry] Garrett are working on the grade configurations at their schools.”

A modular building is being added to Tahlequah Middle School to make room for fifth-grade students, who will move there next year with the sixth-graders.

The TJHS locker room expansion and physical education project is running slightly behind, said Hurst. Boulder Construction, the firm that built the hallway enclosure at Sequoyah, is working on that project, along with the new Agriculture Education and JROTC Building. Construction on the latter will begin shortly, southeast of the TJHS football field. That building should be completed by the end of the summer.

The current ROTC building will remain standing until completion of the Multipurpose Center, to provide more floor space for the wrestling program and locker room facilities. Once the Multipurpose Center is completed, the old building will be razed to make room for more parking space.

The district has a bid opening on the Multipurpose Center set for 2 p.m. Feb. 22.

“We’re very eager to see how those bids comes in,” said Hurst. “Our original estimates on that project were made in 2004, and certainly we can anticipate an increase in construction costs from that time.”

The district had originally estimated $5.8 million on that project, including cost of building parking lots and driveways, in January 2004.

Excavation on the baseball/softball complex has already begun under Girdner Construction. Hurst said installation of the cement slab for the foundation of the concession area, along with plumbing, has already started.

The final project still in the planning stages is a renovation of the Greenwood HVAC to correct poor airflow in certain areas of the building.

“We would like to thank the community for its continued support,” said Hurst. “We look forward to completing these projects and working on new things in the future.”

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