Gearing up for the new school year this time around has been much more hectic than usual for Shawnee Public Schools. Many of the $32 million bond projects voted in by residents in 2016 have been underway as children celebrated their summer break. Crews have been pushing progress at a fever pitch to finish work before classes rev up again.

Gearing up for the new school year this time around has been much more hectic than usual for Shawnee Public Schools. Many of the $32 million bond projects voted in by residents in 2016 have been underway as children celebrated their summer break. Crews have been pushing progress at a fever pitch to finish work before classes rev up again.

The district welcomes 38 new teachers this year: The high school is to receive 14; the middle school will get eight; Jefferson will get five; Sequoyah and Will Rogers each are receiving 4; and Jim Thorpe Academy, Horace Mann and Shawnee Early Childhood Center are each getting one.

“We have a new assistant principal — Kim Paxson — at the middle school,” Grace said, “and a new executive director of academic services — Meggan Wilson — at the central office.”

Also, the district bid farewell to longtime Business Manager David Harp who retired at the end of June, making the way open for Jennifer Stegman as his replacement.

Bond improvements

Superintendent Dr. April Grace said the main high school parking lot is wrapping up, but the front parking lot will take a bit longer.

“The high school parking lot on the east side should be completed on Friday,” Grace said. “Striping is to begin later this week.”

The front parking area west of the high school will not be ready until September or October, she said.

The middle school security vestibule is in some of the latter stages; we are not sure if it will be ready by the first day of classes, but should be ready in early September Grace said.

“SMS Avedis Park is nearing completion, she said, “we expect signage to be done next week and are planning for a kickoff event on Aug. 22 in conjunction with middle school open house, if everything is completed by that time frame.”

Grace said Horace Mann and Sequoyah are having HVAC and roofing done and the secure entrances will be finished later in the fall.

“Construction will be an ongoing project throughout the year (at Horace Mann),” she said, “and the two-classroom addition at Sequoyah is being prepped.

The Will Rogers design is at over 75-percent completion and Jefferson is at 65-percent, she said.

The addition of a new elementary school is underway.

“We are still having conversations and considering options related to the New Elementary site,” she said. “We will hopefully know more in the next 45-60 days.”

Coming up

• High school Junior/Senior schedule pickup is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at Shawnee Middle School — due to construction. A current utility bill must be provided for proof of residence.

• High school Freshman/Sophomore schedule pickup is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at Shawnee Middle School — due to construction. A current utility bill must be provided for proof of residence.

• Middle School sixth-grade orientation is from 7:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 16.

• Middle School seventh-grade students must have documentation of Tdap booster immunization before they may pick up their schedule from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 15 and 16.

• Freshman orientation is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 16.

Will Rogers Back-to-School night is from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 16. SECC, Horace Mann, Jefferson and Sequoyah Back-to-School night events have yet to be determined.

• Shawnee's first day of school is Aug. 17.

“While navigating around some of the construction can be tricky,” Assistant Superintendent Brent Houston said, “it's an exciting time to be part of Shawnee Public Schools with all of the building projects underway.”

Visit the SPS website, at shawnee.k12.ok.us, for updated information.