By Conrad Dudderar
A new training facility for first responders would be constructed at Canadian Valley Technology Center’s El Reno Campus if a $75 million bond issue passes this fall.
Voters across the CV Tech school district – which includes Canadian County – will consider the proposal at a Tuesday, Sept. 12 election.
Passage would increase property taxes by an estimated $30 per year ($2.50 per month) for each $100,000 of assessed value. The district’s estimated millage rate is 3.47.
If voters approve CV Tech’s bond proposition, architectural design/engineering plans will be prepared this fall. Construction would start in fall 2024 after the school district’s 2014 bond issue is retired.
Projected payoff of the 2023 bond is 15 years.
This new bond issue has been endorsed by the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, Grady County Sheriff’s Office, Yukon Police Department, El Reno Police Department, Union City Police Department, Bethany Police Department, and Tuttle Police Department.
Planned projects total $52,744,000 for CV Tech’s El Reno Campus, 6505 E Highway 66.
Pending voter approval Sept. 12, these funds will be used to construct, equip and furnish a “stand-alone” public safety training facility.
This would feature a main classroom building, offices, lab/simulators, seminar space, safe room, site improvements, and more school furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The first responder facility would train cadets in law enforcement tactics like arrests, pursuits, traffic stops, and firearms; along with training for firefighters and emergency medical personnel.
Space could be reallocated at the El Reno campus for high demand, full-time Business and Industry Services’ programs.
Canadian County Sheriff Chris West said he fully supports Canadian Valley’s Sept. 12th bond election.
“This will be great for law enforcement, not only in Canadian County but in this region,” West said. “We have a great partnership. My office assists them with training and have a deputy lined up to attend the next class.
“I hope that the citizens will vote to pass this so we can put together a top-shelf career tech basic police academy facility.”
Planned projects total $22,256,000 for CV Tech’s Chickasha Campus, 1401 Michigan Ave.
If the bond issue passes, proceeds would be used for safety and modernization updates at a campus built in the late 1960s.
Renovations would include classrooms, lab and shop spaces, offices, a safe room, common spaces, parking lot/bus lanes, and more school furniture, fixtures and equipment.
The CV Tech Board of Directors at its April meeting voted unanimously to support the bond election “for some much-needed improvements and additions across the district,” CV Tech Superintendent Gayla Lutts said.
Lutts spoke about the CV Tech’s $75 million bond issue during the recent Yukon Chamber of Commerce Membership Luncheon and El Reno Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast.
Here are some highlights of her CV Tech “Building a Brighter Future” presentation:
- Oklahoma is facing a “workforce crisis” as businesses struggle to find skilled, reliable and qualified workers. Among Oklahoma’s top 100 critical occupations are: Nurses, paramedics, police officers, firefighters, welders, heat and air repair technicians, and electricians.
- Thirty-five percent of top critical occupations require on-the-job training and apprenticeships that Oklahoma CareerTech provides. CV Tech graduated 574 students in fiscal year 2023, and there is a demand for nearly double that number.
- Robust district growth has necessitated construction of classroom space for more programs. During the 2022-23 school year, CV Tech received more than 1,200 student applications – but had to turn away nearly half due to “lack of capacity.”
Superintendent Lutts believes this bond will help CV Tech keep moving forward in its mission to help Oklahomans succeed “as we build a brighter future for our students, our community and the Oklahoma workforce.”
Canadian Valley’s $12 million bond issue, approved by voters in April 2014, funded the rebuild of existing structures after extensive tornado damage to the El Reno campus.
But it did not account for population increase.
Canadian County’s population grew 33.6% from 2010 to 2020 and continues to climb, according to the U.S. Census.
CV Tech has a third site, the Cowan Campus at 1701 S Czech Hall Road in Yukon.