MAPS for Kids eyes North Highland renovation

During a regular board meeting Monday, MAPS for Kids plans moved forward for an Oklahoma City elementary school awaiting improvements, while district officials voiced concern about changing demographic needs.

The district is in the process of reviewing demographics, which will help determine whether further changes are necessary in MAPS for Kids efforts at schools, officials said. Discussion over approving the schematic design report for North Highland Math and Science Academy, 8400 N. Robinson, spurred the demographics talk.

The schematic design phase is an early step in the process, when architects present the basic plan. North Highland will be converted into a pre-kindergarten through sixth-grade facility for 548 students, with 13 additional classrooms. The projected enrollment upon completion, however, is 448, which led board chairman Cliff Hudson to ask whether it made sense to proceed with all the extra classrooms.

"We've got plenty of schools that will be maxed out when we complete renovation," he said.

In North Highland's case, additional housing being built near the school is not included in the enrollment projections. But, Terry Wolfe of district facility services said demographics and balancing classroom needs around the district currently are under review. The board unanimously approved the schematic design report with the understanding that if changes need to be made, they will be.

North Highland next will undergo preliminary design through November, followed by construction documents and bidding phases, with a June 2008 construction start. As part of its $4.3 million MAPS for Kids improvements, North Highland will gain:
" a new art/music room,
" media center,
" computer lab and
" administrative offices and entrance. "Emily Jerman

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