Dozens Of Agencies Look To Move Into Vacated Schools, Says OKCPS Superintendent
Oklahoma School District Superintendent Sean McDaniel says they have heard from 40 prospective partners to fill buildings that will be vacated as part of the “Pathways to Greatness” plan. The district plans on closing 15 schools.
The Oklahoma City Boys and Girls Club had already planned on expanding within the next year, so when they heard the Oklahoma School District may have several buildings available, they saw it as a great opportunity.
“The timing of this is actually pretty good,” said CFO Teena Belcik. “Because we are just now at the point of starting to think about what that expansion might look like.”
Belcik says they have expressed interest to the district into possibly moving into one of the schools in an area that could benefit from their services. They also would like to stay at Telstar Elementary, which is closing but where they currently have a program.
“We’ve developed a really strong relationship with our kids and our families, and we would really like to provide continuity to those families and kids,” says Belcik.
Representatives with the Oklahoma Children’s Theatre and Oklahoma Autism Foundation have also told News 9 they have expressed interest in the buildings.
Several agencies say part of the appeal is the facilities. Many of the buildings have new gyms and other upgrades as part of MAPS for Kids.
The superintendent confirmed to News 9’s Kelly Ogle the schools that are being shut down have about $100 million worth of improvements.
The Oklahoma City County Health Department says that's part of what attracted them as well.
Executive Director Gary Cox says they would like to move into two schools in Northwest Oklahoma City and Southeast Oklahoma City to expand their current programming. He says they would like to put a core of their people in the buildings and then offer room for non-profits. Services could include counseling, mental health services, and physical activities in addition to wellness and prevention services. He calls it a one-stop shop for after school services.
“Really what we want to do is look at those things outside of the doctor’s office that may be missing in these kid’s lives,” says Cox.
No agencies say they have had any formal negotiations yet.
Cox says if a deal is reached, they could be ready for business by July.
Belcik says they could be ready by the beginning of school.