By Conrad Dudderar
Construction will start this fall on Yukon Public Schools’ new Performing Arts Center/Instructional Center and Yukon Millers Indoor Activity Facility on the Yukon High School campus.
The upcoming projects are being funded through a $194 million bond issue package approved by YPS voters at a November 2021 election.
YPS board members recently reviewed the latest artist renderings of the future facilities on the YHS campus, 1777 S Yukon Parkway.
A planned Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) “satellite” site in the YPS Performing Arts Center/College & Career Center has been postponed.
YPS officials, in consultation with the district’s construction manager and architect, have finalized revised project plans due to significant rises in construction and interest costs since the bond issue passed.
To bring the project within budget, the new Yukon Performing Arts Center/YHS Instructional Center will initially be constructed with one story rather than two – and without the dedicated SWOSU space.
The building will feature a 1,500-seat auditorium, fine arts space, labs for programs like aeronautics, health occupations, computer science, and media production; along with 17 more YHS classrooms.
“We moved the top layer of some classrooms down into the lower area that was (going to be a) tiered lecture center,” YPS Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said during the Aug. 7th YPS Board of Education meeting. “It’s now divided into classrooms, and we gained a few more back in the hallway.
“We didn’t change any programs or reduce anything capacity-wise in the performing arts center.”
A second story to the building and the SWOSU satellite site could be added in a future construction phase, YPS officials noted.
A ground-breaking ceremony is set Friday, Sept. 1 before the Yukon Millers’ football game against Westmoore.
The 2021 YPS bond issue proposal included an estimated $70-$75 million in building bonds for a new performing arts center/college and career center, indoor activity facility and expanded commons area on the YHS campus.
Estimated cost of the Yukon Performing Arts Center/YHS Instructional Center and Yukon Millers Indoor Activity Facility totals $80 million.
In a related item, YPS board members at their August meeting approved a sublease agreement with the Canadian County Educational Facilities Authority.
This allows the district to obtain lease revenue bonds to start the construction process on the upcoming bond projects, Simeroth explained.
A similar financing arrangement was used for construction of Redstone Intermediate School, which opened in 2020 after passage of a 2017 YPS bond issue.
Yukon school patrons first learned about the changes to the proposed YHS campus addition at the July YPS board meeting.
A story detailing the YPS bond project update appeared in the July 15th print and online editions of The Yukon Progress.
Parents and other district patrons were notified by email and social media that YPS and SWOSU officials had “mutually agreed to postpone the inclusion of a dedicated SWOSU space” in the YPS College & Career Center.
“SWOSU will continue to serve as YPS’s exclusive preferred provider of in-person instruction and coursework,” according to a July 14th update posted on the district’s Facebook page.
“SWOSU faculty and staff will continue to work with YPS faculty and staff in YPS facilities as has been done since the partnership began in 2020.”
- Concurrent and dual credit programs will continue.
- College completion programs for employees will continue.
- Master’s programs for employees will continue.
Yukon school officials predict than 500 YPS students will take “face-to-face” courses from SWOSU during the 2023-24 academic year.
Manhattan Construction Co. is the construction manager for the new YHS facilities. The Stacy Group is the project architect.