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Local News

September 4, 2013

New Marlow Elementary on target for completion by 2014’s tornado season

MARLOW — MARLOW — If things continue going at the pace they are, the new building at Marlow Elementary could be move-in ready by the end of April 2014, or the beginning of May.

That’s the height of tornado season in Oklahoma.

The building will be about 53,000 square feet, sitting on 1.33 acres of land. The center section of the building will contain safe rooms, which will be able to withstand tornado-type winds, up to and including an F5 tornado.

“We hope we never have that,” Superintendent George Coffman said. “But if we do, we’ll be ready.”

The safe rooms will also be connected throughout the building. A person could go from one end of the building to the other end without having to leave the safety of the shelter rooms.

The safe rooms will be surrounded by concrete, including the ceiling. In fact, the construction company was scheduled to start pouring concrete above the safe rooms this morning.

Coffman said the idea is to move the classes into the new building, replacing the Fifth Grade Building, by the end of the school year. The Fifth Grade Building and the temporary buildings, housing the pre-kindergarten classes, would be demolished sometime between June and July. Those buildings are not currently safe or healthy, which is one reason Marlow voters approved a $14 million bond issue in 2011. Marlow residents and parents wanted new elementary buildings constructed and they are now seeing their vote become a reality.

“It’s going to be really nice,” Coffman said of the new building, which is located in the 600 block of Cherokee Street.  Several homes were purchased by the school district late 2007 for the intention of expanding the elementary campus.

The new building will be used for pre-kindergarten through third grade classes. The main building, which was built in 1989, will be used for fourth and fifth-grade students.

The Fifth Grade Building was constructed in 1952, and the temporary buildings, which are nothing more than temporary  manufactured structures, have been in use for more than 15 years. Coffman said the elementary construction, which was approved by a 63 percent vote, is necessary to help Marlow students get the best education possible.

The front end of the new building will include a library and media center, and a computer lab. Each classroom will have a Smart Board, and will range in size from about 900 square feet to 1,300 square feet.

Coffman said the building will be inviting for students. Sure, there may be concrete and steel rebar keeping them safe, but high ceilings and wide hallways will give the building an open feeling, he said.

Bright colors will also be used in the wall tiles and in specks in the carpeting.

Elementary Principal Kim Kizarr said the construction has been exciting for the faculty and students. When big equipment or work is being done on the building, she said the children will press themselves up against the fence during recess.

“There’s something new every week,” Kizarr said.

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