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OKCPS Considering Switching Buildings

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Oklahoma City Public School District officials are looking to relocate out of a building that is becoming too expensive to maintain, according to spokesperson Mark Myers.

The district offices, currently on N. Klein Ave., are nearly 100 years old. The district plans to move different departments to schools around the district both with and without students.

According to a draft summary of the relocation, Superintendent Aurora Lora’s office along with core departments such as Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, legal services and Communications will be moved to Northeast Academy between this month and the end of 2016.

Other departments like Student Support Services are in the process of moving to Dewey Elementary, which was closed several years ago.

Also on the list of possible relocations is Madison Elementary and Thelma R. Parks Elementary. Those schools could house departments like Human Resources, Finance or Special Education which are currently listed as “TBD” on the draft sheet.

“We have a lot of departments and we don't know when and where they'll move, but we're looking at anywhere from a year to possibly two years to fully complete,” Myers said.

There are some concerns about whether the moves will disrupt those schools with active classes. Specifically, those concerns were raised by an official at Northeast Academy, which is expected to have the most outside traffic.

“The school is very large, so our plan is not to disrupt what is going on when it comes to learning for our students,” Myers said when asked about the potential for disruptions.

The measure is expected to save costs, something the district desperately needed after being forced to cut $30 million from the budget after statewide budget cuts. However, Myers was not able to give firm figures on how much the relocation of staff would cost. He only added the moving fees would be one time payments rather than continued and increasing costs of maintaining the current building.

Originally, OKCPS school board members had talked about purchasing the Central National Bank building at 615 N. Classen Blvd. but it was later deemed too small for district needs. Myers said the current building is expected to be sold for surplus to help pad the budget.

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