Our Students Are Worthy!
Union’s commitment to “Graduate 100 Percent of our Students, College and Career-Ready” means we do everything it takes to ensure our children are successful. In addition to highly qualified and committed teachers and staff who care about our students, it takes facilities, technology and resources in order to deliver top-notch programming. That’s why the successful passage of bond issues is so critical to the well-being of Oklahoma schools. Remember: a supermajority of 60 percent approval of the voters is required for passage of the bond proposal.
One thing we know for sure – the more engaged our students, the more likely they are to perform well in school. We believe there’s a strong relationship between the 95 percent of Union students who participate in extracurricular activities – band, art, orchestra, vocal music, athletics, spirit, speech and debate, and an array of clubs – and a graduation rate of more than 90 percent. These extras don’t happen without a public investment.
Please Vote Tuesday, February 14
On Tuesday, February 14, we are asking patrons to vote on important capital expenditures to ensure we don’t miss a beat when it comes to building, equipping and maintaining needed facilities; purchasing books, technology and equipment districtwide; and providing students involved in athletics, spirit, and band the instruments, uniforms, equipment and technology these programs require.
5 Key Elements
1. Union 6th/7th Grade Center
Reconfiguration to smooth the transition from elementary school
“We must do a better job of bridging the gap between elementary and middle school for our sixth grade students,” said Assistant Superintendent John Federline. “We need to create a smaller, more elementary-like environment for them, and a springboard for seventh graders that positions them for success in the eighth grade. Structural changes are needed to accommodate two widely different experiences.”
Among the proposed changes:
- New school configuration, with sixth grade on one side of the building and seventh grade on the other. We anticipate changes to bus and vehicular traffic flow around the school.
- Smaller clusters of classroom spaces with common learning areas for teams. “We need space where teams of 120 – 150 kids can get together and collaborate with nearby restrooms,” said Federline. The changes will also ease crowding and require less travel by students, while providing additional pathways and reducing congestion. “With the smaller learning environment feel, we are going to change the culture and kids won’t feel so disrupted.” Team spaces will have designated color schemes to make communities feel more self-contained.
- Smaller and additional bathrooms will be placed closer to classrooms, with sinks and paper towels located outside in the hallways. This provides for improved monitoring.
- Improved cafeteria serving area with two eating spaces: To make lunch more efficient for 2,200 students, a centralized kitchen will be placed between smaller eating spaces. This will allow 450 kids to spread out and eat lunch at the same time, but it will be quieter and more comfortable.
- Addition of a gym on the building’s southwest side. This will not only provide seventh graders with a separate gym, but it will be a hardened facility designed to shelter students and staff in the event of inclement weather.
- The spirit and winter guard programs will have two new practice areas and locker rooms with the addition of this gym.
- Renovation of the HVAC system, replacing an old geothermal system that no longer works.
- The media center, along with the beautiful fine arts facility on the building’s west side, will continue to be a shared space utilized by both grades.
Site improvements to improve safety and security. Extensive changes are planned to improve safety/security throughout the district, including
- Jarman Elementary: Entrance and front-office updates to improve security at the school.
- Deployment of additional security cameras, door prompt sensors and other safety enhancements to improve physical security.
- New gym at 6th/7th Grade Center – hardened facility to withstand tornado-strength winds.
- Playground and upgrades to improve child safety.
- Air quality in buildings will be significantly improved through roof and HVAC changes.
- Union Performing Arts Center Studio Theatre: Fire retardant curtain being installed to improve safety in the event of a fire.
- Exterior lighting and parking lot improvements.
- Fire Panel at 6th/7th Grade Center.
3. Technology, Instruction Materials and Resources.
Technology, textbooks, digital curriculum and instructional resources continue to be a significant investment for the district, representing about $31 million.
Union will continue to fund “1-to-1” (one computer device for every student), as it proved especially critical during the pandemic; we will be entering phase 2 of the program, replacing some of the older laptops. This category includes the purchase of laptops, iPads, software, licenses, copiers and assorted hardware, as well as textbooks and instructional resources. Hardware will include numerous enhancements to the district’s infrastructure, including faster access points, more switches and a new firewall. Software will continue with traditional offerings, but with an emphasis on products that provide a more robust security posture. In addition, each school site and department also receives an allocation, some of which may fall in this category.
4. Athletics & Fine Arts Facilities Upgrades
Plus practice facilities construction
Student participation in extracurricular activities continues to skyrocket, which bolsters our district’s graduation rate. A favorable vote on February 14 will provide the following:
- Renovation of the Union Performing Arts Center’s aging “back of house:” (dressing room areas) and orchestra pit, new orchestra shell and a flame-retardant stage curtain for the Studio Theatre. The installation of a new intelligent light system will be more energy efficient.
- Uniforms, equipment, technology and musical instruments for Athletics and Fine Arts.
- UMAC improvements to include a higher-resolution video/score board, sound system, and sports lighting.
- The spirit/winter guard will have a new home base with the building of a new dual-purpose gym at the Union 6th/7th Grade Center. It will also serve as a separate gym for seventh grade students.
- Turf and resurfacing of courts: The soccer practice field and the regular soccer field at the 8th Grade Center, as well as the field at the High School track, need new turf within the next five years. The tennis courts will be resurfaced and the turf at the indoor baseball/softball practice facility will be replaced.
- Pool upgrade art the 6th/7thGrade Center: Plans call for replacing the mechanical/water purification system as well as redoing bleachers that have become inoperable.
5. Building, Interior/Exterior Renovations
To include HVAC, roof replacements, safety/security upgrades and other districtwide projects This is a significant part of the 2023-2027 bond proposal, representing about $46 million in capital improvements, including:
- Building exterior and interior renovation projects, including utility systems and equipment, playgrounds, flooring, painting, windows, doors, millwork, lighting and furniture, fixtures and equipment at sites throughout the district.
- District roof replacements to include portions of the High School, Union High School Freshman Academy and the Union Performing Arts Center.
- HVAC projects at Roy Clark, McAuliffe, Moore, Rosa Parks and the High School.
- Extensive reconfiguration of the 6th/7th Grade Center.
- Moving or enlarging the nurse’s office at the High School.
- Updating and improving the security of the entrance and front office of Jarman Elementary.
- Interior/exterior renovation of the Education Service Center.
- Flooring (carpeting and/or tile) at Boevers, Jarman, Jefferson, McAuliffe, Peters, Rosa Parks, Union High School Freshman Academy, the High School and Union Alternative School.
- Paving at sites throughout the district.
- Playground upgrades at Cedar Ridge, Grove, Jefferson and Rosa Parks.
- Lighting upgrades to more efficient LED lighting at several sites.