ATOKA, OK -- Three years after Atoka voters passed a $9.8 million bond to build a new elementary school, the facility is now complete.
Atoka Superintendent Dwayne Noble said their current elementary school was built 80 years ago and the dilapidated building posed a health and safety issue for both its students and faculty. But that's all about to change. This fall, students will walk through the doors of the new Atoka Elementary School for the first time.
Thursday, we got a sneak peak inside.
"This building's a modern building with all the energy efficient aspects to it. From the heating to the lighting to the air conditioning to the kitchen, it's a money saving building," he said.
Superintendent Noble is proud to show off the new elementary school. Construction wrapped up just a few days ago on the facility, which was paid for with a $9.8 million bond approved by voters in 2011.
It's a building former teacher Mary Watson has waited a long time for. She taught at the old elementary 24 years ago and said it was falling apart back then!
"Even though they spent a lot of money rehabing it, you know, new roof, new air conditioning, new flooring and new things like that, but it's still not in very good condition," she said.
Elementary School Principal, Kathy Perkins, said the old school building was deteriorating. Floors buckled from leaks during heavy rains and mold was a growing problem.
"I did feel like kids and teachers and staff would complain that their allergies flared up and they started more sneezing," she said.
Noble said building a new school would be less expensive than renovating the old one. They've added LED lighting and new technology as well as security features, including 28 cameras, and double doors, which will be locked during school hours.
"This building's entrance points is well marked and well seen unlike the other schools. The other schools had too many entrances that were blind, where we couldn't see people coming and going from the building," he said.
Watson said the new building is an investment in their kids' future.
"I feel like it's a step forward for us because now we at least have a fairly new high school, our middle school's not in very bad shape and with the new elementary. We're catching up a little," she said.
"We want all the students of Atoka to have the same advantage as any student would have," said Noble.
If you would like to tour the new elementary school, they plan to host a ribbon cutting on August 8th and an open house on the 13th.
Noble said the old elementary school will be demolished in the fall.
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