FAIRLAND — Fairland School District residents are being asked to vote on a $4.97 million bond issue on May 14 that would be used for several construction projects.

Bond funds would be for a student activity center, tornado shelter/classroom addition and improvements to the elementary gymnasium.

Starting in 2020, for every $119 in property taxes patrons pay, the increase would be $19.24 annually or $1.60 per month.

“The biggest reason is because our enrollment is continuing to increase,” Fairland superintendent Mark Alexander said. “We don't have a storm shelter for our elementary students. We’re not looking at kids hiding in a hallway or a bathroom any more. We would have a FEMA-rated storm shelter for them to go to.”

All new school construction in Oklahoma is required to have a storm shelter, Alexander said.

“It will drive the price up, but you want to invest in something that will protect your kids,” he said.

It will provide space for an additional three classrooms and more restrooms.

The SAC, the first of what would be part of a multi-phase project, would be located just west of the current high school gym and would be used during the day by middle and high school students.

It also could be used as practice areas for basketball, softball, baseball, band and other activities.

Future phases would include additional practice areas, a weight room, locker rooms, support areas and a connection to the existing high school gym.

The new classroom/shelter would be built next to the current elementary school.

“We have people that want to transfer in here all the time who we would like to accommodate, but we just don’t have the room for them,” Alexander said. “This would help with that.”

The old gymnasium, built in 19xx, has gotten to the point where it’s not functional for varsity practices and other events, Alexander said.

He said it’s used for elementary school events, but also is used as a back practice site for the middle and high school teams.

“The secondary and elementary butt heads on when and each can use that,” Alexander said. “It will help our elementary students. We have a hard time getting all the PE requirements for the elementary students because of the scheduling problems.”

If approved, Alexander said it’s hoped that the buildings could be ready for occupancy in time for the start of the 2021-22 school year.