My husband and I recently attended the Oracle School District Capital Bond Open House and it was a great experience. Governing Board members Wendy O’Dell, Edie Crall, and Linda Lyon joined Superintendent Crystle Nehrmeyer to greet us at the entrance. We then toured the campus with teachers and other staff to tell us about various parts of the now-completed $13.2M bond project.
The new campus entrance mirrors the mountains in Oracle and leads down a ramp—just one of the numerous Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements made—to the renovated Mountain Vista School office through which campus access is now controlled. The new junior high building next to it is designed to inspire, and equipment upgrades allow teachers to maximize learning.
Of course, children can’t learn on an empty stomach, and the cafetorium and kitchen also saw significant upgrades. The 50-year-old stovetop was replaced, as were the failing walk-in refrigerator, freezer, and sinks. A new tilt grill was added, and the old HVAC system was replaced. As a plus, the kitchen upgrades were funded via a special grant, which allowed bond funding to be used for other priorities. Some of these priorities included new flooring in the cafetorium, along with acoustics treatment on the walls and new seating.
The newly renovated and expanded library is now a real showpiece. It includes a teacher training room/board meeting room, individual rooms for working with students, and an expansive main area with huge windows that encourage students to explore the shelves and spend time reading in fun seating areas. There is also a kiva area where students can enjoy storytime.
New playgrounds give younger students another place to enjoy themselves (along with a new basketball court for the older students), and the new bus loop helps improve traffic flow and provides a safer environment for students and staff alike.
At the conclusion of the tours, visitors were asked what they thought about the campus. “It’s just a great learning environment,” said retired art teacher Harriet Hason. SaddleBrooke resident Brenda Newitter said, “It’s a huge improvement, just amazing and worth every penny.” Former State Senator Vince Leach said, “I think this is fantastic. Kids would want to come to school here. They have the equipment, the school grade has improved, the community is backing them, and it’s all systems go.” Former OSD school board member Jeri Taylor summed it up by saying, “I love it.”
“Tonight was made possible through the fabulous support of all the communities within the District,” said Superintendent Nehrmeyer. “I am so very grateful for them, our wonderful students, and the teachers and staff dedicated to our tagline, ‘Small Town Roots. Global Expectations.’”