News Column

Garber voters to decide $7.3 million school bond issue

August 8, 2014

By Phyllis Zorn, Enid News & Eagle, Okla.

Aug. 08--GARBER, Okla. -- Voters in the Garber Public Schools district will take to the polls Aug. 26 to decide a $7.3 million school improvement bond issue.

Jim Lamer, Garber superintendent, said the district believes business growth in the district will produce sufficient revenue so property taxes won't increase beyond what property owners already pay.

School officials are eyeing four projects: a multi-purpose center and gymnasium; new band room; a driveway to the FFA shop; and technology improvements.

--Multi-purpose center/gymnasium.

"The biggest factor is the gymnasium," Lamar said.

The current gymnasium was built in the 1950s, he said.

"It's the smallest gym in the conference," Lamar said. "We've got three bleachers on each side. We've made it work for several years, but we feel it's time to improve our schools and make it a better place for the kids."

--New band room with community safe room.

Lamer said the existing band room also is original to the building's construction and includes an orchestra pit -- a design not very accommodating to elementary music classes. The new band room will provide better acoustics and technology as well as performance risers.

The new band room also will serve as a community safe room, available to the community in the event of a tornado.

"Currently, we have a safe room in the elementary designed for about 200 students," Lamar said. "We've got about 350 kids, so it will be designed for about 150."

A key will be provided to the local emergency director so he will have access to it.

"The Garber band program has seen a resurgence in the last several years," said Keith Crocker, music and band director. "We owe it to our students to provide them with the latest technology and facilities to achieve their performing arts goals. And if we can do this while also providing our community with a safe place to shelter from tornadoes, then this is a win-win for everyone."

--FFA shop driveway.

The smallest of the four projects is a concrete driveway and ramp for the FFA shop, expected to be completed for about $50,000. Lamer said the driveway will improve accessibility and permit vehicles and trailers to load and unload at any time, no matter what the weather conditions.

"The FFA program at Garber has a rich history of quality teaching and learning as well as preparing our students for life beyond school," said Lee Schnaithman, Garber school board member. "We teach them leadership and business skills necessary to succeed in life. By completing this project, our students will have the best facilities in the county."

--Technology improvements.

Lamar said school board members envision a technology upgrade to support 21st century learning and provide technology tools to teachers, students and staff. This will include expanding Internet accessibility and upgrading operating systems on all computers.

"Technology is critical for the future needs of every student," Lamer said.


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Source: Enid News & Eagle (OK)

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