Students in the Sallisaw School District will soon be getting a new middle school. That's after voters approved a $15.8 million bond to fund the project.
"It's a big statement by our community to step forward and provide something like this for our kids," Todd Martin, whose kids attend Sallisaw Schools said. "We're very excited."
As plans for the new building move forward, Scott Farmer, the superintendent of the Sallisaw School District, said keeping students safe is their biggest concern.
"Our current facility has right at 20 doors that we have to monitor as kids transition from class to class," Farmer explained. "The new facility is designed to where we have one safe and secure entrance and we can keep our kids safe while were providing a 21st century education."
"We turn them loose and that's the most important thing that we've got going on," Martin said. "We definitely want them back and we want them back safely. So this is very important."
By only having one secured entrance for visitors, Farmer said he feels both teachers and parents will feel better about sending their kids off to school.
"In this building we can manage the flow of visitors and they are forced, by design, to enter to the principals office and check in with our school resource officer before they can access kids," Farmer said. "It is our job is to educate kids. But if we send anyone home hurt then what we have done has been in vain. We are glad that we can finally put some of our fears aside."
The proposed school features 21 standard classrooms, two science labs, three computer labs, a special education classroom, media center, physical education facility, band room and an office for the school resource officer.
To build the new school, voters approved an increase in their annual property taxes, which will take effect July 1. Farmer explained that it means an increase of just under $2.50 a month for every $100 paid.
The school says they'll break ground on the new middle school sometime at the end of this summer. Construction's expected to take two years, which means students will be in their new classrooms for the 2015-2016 school year.