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Bethel Acres in beginning stages of $18.4 million bond projects

Elisabeth Slay
The Shawnee News-Star

Bethel Public Schools started the initial stages of the construction for two projects which will be funded by money from the $18.4 million bond issue Bethel Acres citizens voted yes on in August.

According to Superintendent Tod Harrison, the total amount of the bond is $18,390,000 and it’s being used for two entities, including a new facility for elementary students and a renovated activity center.

“We completed the initial walk through for the new gym with our architect and construction manager,” Harrison said. “The detailed plans are being worked on.”

The superintendent said the Pottawatomie County Commissioners voted in their regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 13 to approve Gymco to refinish the competition gym floor. 

Harrison said along with the floor the competition gym will be receiving numerous renovations to upgrade it to a more modern facility. 

“This will include enlarging of public restrooms, remodeled locker rooms, new uniform storage and laundry rooms, lobby renovation, new upstairs seating, complete ADA compliance and gym floor upgrades,” Harrison said. 

The superintendent said the remodel will also include new heat and air conditioning, a new weight room, coaches offices, performance stage, equipment storage, elevator, hospitality room and conference room.

In addition to the activity center, Harrison said funds from the bond are being used to build a new school building for third through fifth graders. 

“The surveying of the property where the new school will be built has been completed and they (drilled) the soil samples over Fall Break this week,” Harrison said. 

The administrator said this building will be approximately 38,000 square feet and will serve third through fourth graders who are currently attending class in metal buildings and portable facilities. 

The administrator also said this building will be beneficial to grades pre-K through fifth grade because it will provide them with additional security. 

“It will (allow students) inside access to the new library, music room, art room, computer room and FEMA storm shelter and gym to serve grades (pre-K and fifth),” Harrison said. “These classes now have to go outside to attend classes in other buildings.”

Harrison said there will be five classrooms for each grade to insure the district is ready for future growth and there will be safety fencing placed around the entire elementary playground.

Harrison said overall, these new facilities will be great for all the students in the district.

“Our students will greatly benefit by attending in one connected facility,” Harrison said. “New technology upgrades will be incorporated throughout the building. Projected growth has been accounted for and this facility will continue to serve and benefit future Bethel Wildcats for years to come.”