Prague Schools will begin the 2018 school year planning for the construction phase of two new building projects. After months of waiting, construction of the Prague Early Childhood Center and the Prague Middle School Student Center, both with FEMA approved safe rooms, is now ready to move forward. On December 14, the school received the first award letter from FEMA stating that the funds are available for the middle school project and that the school could move forward. On January 8, 2018, the school received the second and final award letter stating the Early Childhood Center project could be started.
The original FEMA applications were started in 2014 and went through many revisions, numerous documentations and lots of back and forth with FEMA. The applications were for two specific projects: (1) A Safe Room at the Prague Middle School that will also serve as a multi-purpose student center and
(2) A Safe Room at the Prague Early Childhood Center. In November of 2015, FEMA notified the school that the Prague projects had been chosen to be funded pending more application revisions, up-dated cost analysis, and new population census along with many other items. In February of 2016, the community overwhelmingly approved a bond issue to build an entirely new Early Childhood Center and Middle School Student Center. The bond issue and the committed FEMA funds allow both facilities to have safe rooms that will house the entire district during a storm. However, the wait continued as Oklahoma Emergency Management and FEMA requested more documents and more revisions. Also, FEMA resources were re-routed for hurricane relief efforts after the two major hurricanes hit Texas and Florida putting the safe room grants on further delay. Under FEMA regulations, schools are unable to start any construction projects without the final approvals and go ahead authorizations given by Oklahoma Emergency Management and FEMA; therefore, the Prague projects could not be started. However, in the last month, the long-awaited award letters arrived and we have the green light to begin construction. FEMA awarded the Middle School project $779,174.00 and the Early Childhood Center project $2,177,154.00 for the safe room shelters. This money, along with the money the community voted to bond, will pay for the total costs of these two facilities.
The construction phase will start with finalizing the plans with the architect and re-visiting the cost of materials. Once the plans are finalized, the project will go out to bid. We anticipate that this will take anywhere from 90-120 days with construction beginning late spring-early summer. The goal is to have the buildings ready for occupancy sometime during the fiscal year of 2019-2020. The Middle School project will be located on the west end of the Prague Middle School and will extend out to the south. It will be approximately 1290 sq. ft. and will house 250 people during a storm and will give students a place to go before school and at lunch during inclement weather. The Early Childhood Center will be located just south of the existing elementary school and will be located in the gravel parking lot across from the football field and Devils Den area. This building will hold Pre-K, Kindergarten and First Grade. It will also have an office and library/computer lab area and will be approximately 9331 sq. ft. It will hold the entire elementary school, high school, staff and 800 community members during a storm and prevent the students from having to be bused to a shelter. We are very excited about the final arrival of the award letters and look forward to the upcoming months of construction of these state of the art facilities for our students. Final award letters and progress updates along with photos will be posted on our school website at prague.k12.ok.us under the Bond Issue tab so that everyone can follow the construction process.