An important investment in our students and community remains on track as promised, as Omaha Public Schools completes the first phase of its bond program and remains on schedule with phase two. Both initiatives, approved by voters, have allowed for safety, security and technology upgrades districtwide, as well as building renovations and new construction.
“To be able to look back confidently at the taxpayers who granted us the funds and say, ‘we’re on schedule and we’re on budget and we’re doing what we need to do to improve the students’ experience’ is a huge sense of pride for me,” said Brad Boganowski, Omaha Public Schools bond construction supervisor.
The work to enhance our schools and programs for the students, staff and families of Omaha Public Schools began with the 2014 Bond Program (Phase 1) which included more than 80 projects, totaling $421 million. Phase one wrapped up last summer on time and within budget.
“We were able to move first grades out of smaller classrooms into full-size, beautiful, updated classrooms,” said Lynette Keyes, Masters Elementary School principal. “Students and staff are excited. They’ve taken pride in their school. They’re excited about the addition.”
Northwest High School principal Thomas Lee agreed, saying building upgrades have provided a benefit to the community and the students we serve.
“When you have buildings that kids enjoy coming to and walking into and being proud of, it helps them to be better when it comes to being a student. It helps them take pride in their education, it helps them to take pride in the things that are going on in and around their schools and in the community,” he said.
As part of the district’s proactive plan to address future growth, the 2014 bond initiative also helped Omaha Public Schools acquire land to build new schools to be funded by the 2018 Bond Program (Phase 2). The $409 million bond received voter support in May 2018.
“So far, on the 2018 bond, we’re on schedule with the 25 different structures that we’re working in and we’re on budget,” added Boganowski. “We’ve got five new builds going on, including two high schools, a middle school and two elementary schools.”
In addition to the new construction, phase two also includes 20 renovation projects that range from storm shelters to the addition of classroom space.
“We have a nine-room addition that will help us eliminate the portables here,” said Morton Middle School Principal Dr. Kimberly Jackson. “We’re going to renovate our auditorium area and add another four classrooms there with a multipurpose area. So, that’s going to eliminate all of our portables and bring all of our staff and students inside the building finally.”
Despite the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, work on phase two maintained its momentum throughout the last year. Construction teams have made adjustments to ensure work interruptions are minimized during this time. The teams have used critical due diligence to manage, track, and coordinate essential material deliveries needed to keep the bond projects moving forward on schedule.
For detailed information regarding the status of the bond programs, please go to bond.ops.org.