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Education

As School Year Ends, Bulk of Construction for Springfield Public Schools Begins

Gary Tew, along with Westport 4th graders, cut the ribbon for one of the new additions to Springfield Public Schools./Credit:

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/school-year-ends-bulk-construction-springfield-public-schools-begins_85087.mp3

The new Hailey Owens’ Playground at Westport Elementary was dedicated Wednesday, the last day of school and the start of many projects this summer for Springfield’s public school district. KSMU’s Anna Thomas has the story.

“You’re standing on our playground here now, but I get to enjoy every day by seeing the students’ smiles on their faces when they come down here to play. Pretty soon we’ll be enjoying the track over the hill, plus our football area over the hill,” Tew said.

Gary Tew, principal of Westport Elementary, was one of many speakers at the re-dedication ceremony for the Betty and Bobby Allison Westport School-Park Playground. City and school officials also presented a new pavilion, and Hailey’s Playground, in honor of the fourth-grader that was abducted and killed earlier this year. 

The new additions were received by lots of applause from the crowd, including parents like Kelly Tabor, who thinks it is beneficial for the kids.

“I think it will work out better for them. It’s very nice. I’m happy they’re doing this for her,” Tabor said.

While these projects have come to a close, many others are planned this summer by the school district while students are away.

Pam Bodine is the senior communications specialist for Springfield Public Schools. 

“I think the students are going to be just excited about the upgrades in the facilities they get to use,” Bodine said.

The big projects this summer come from the 2013 bond and tax levy approved by voters, and consists of renovations to cafeterias at both Glendale and Kickapoo high schools. Glendale will also receive a common room and enhancements to their library.

Construction of a new building will give Sherwood Elementary students a new school and relieve overcrowding. 

The district hopes to have most of the projects done this winter, but there isn’t a set date, and Sherwood’s new building won’t be completed until fall 2015.

“The contractors are all well aware of that and make plans, and staff and students adjust to the changes that have to be made,” Bodine said.

Springfield Public Schools does have more plans for renovations, but have yet to approve bids. More information about these projects can be found here.

For KSMU News, I’m Anna Thomas.