LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - We're quickly approaching a school bond election that would bring $99.5 million worth of upgrades to Lawton Public Schools.
Nearly half of that money, $46 million would be used to build a new Eisenhower Middle School.
The current Eisenhower Middle School building was built in 1967. There are problems across the school, but one of the biggest issues? The floors.
While on a tour today, 7NEWS set a marble on the floor, which was so slanted that the marble sped off, moving faster than my camera could even keep up with. Across the hall in a classroom, a teacher showed us a chair that from a complete stop to slamming into the wall anytime she stands up.
"One time I had a parent-teacher conference with a math teacher in the seventh-grade wing. The desks were sliding into the wall because of the slope and the floor there," said Holly Naberhaus, who has had three kids who attended Eisenhower Middle School. "As a parent, it's concerning for the safety of our students. Structurally, we've been told the building is sound, for the time being, we don't know how long that will last. It's such a distraction to learning."
Lawton Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Tom Deighan said once you get past the issues with the floor, all you have to do to find the next problem is look up.
"Anytime it rains Eisenhower Middle School is a challenge," Dr. Deighan said. "The roof is in terrible shape, it causes severe hardships for the students and staff. We have to cover equipment, we have to cover books, we have to cover technology. In addition to this, we have walls that are separating. In some places, you can actually put your hand from one room to the other room."
"Everyone sees the rainwater come in but another big problem we have is pests," said Eisenhower Middle School Head Custodian Lamont Hill. "We can't keep them out of the building because every time we look up there's a new hole they can get in. We're next to a big field, it's really bad here. Also, downstairs we have bathrooms down there, with the building settling on the pipes, we can't use the restrooms anymore. They've been out of commission for I think a little over a year."
While some parents may think the issues are a distraction for students, Principal Beverly Mattingly said the students and staff do a great job of not letting the building's obstacles deter them from learning. But she said the fact that they've simply gotten used to the deteriorating conditions is a problem in and of itself.
"You just know in your heart they deserve better," Mattingly said. "They deserve to come into a classroom where they don't have to worry about the noise of the loud air conditioners, they don't have to worry about the windows falling out, they don't have to worry about leaks and roofs and slopes."
Election day is November 14th and Dr. Deighan said no matter what you think about the bond, he encourages you to head to the polls.
"I believe parents should make this decision so I ask all parents, you have just a few days left. October 20th is the last day to register, I really encourage parents. Pass or fail, I want parents to make this decision, for our students and our district," Deighan said.
If you want to get a first-hand view of the structural problems at Eisenhower Middle School, the school is hosting an open house November 7th at 5:30 p.m.
The bond will be paid for with an increase in property tax and that increase depends on the value of your property. You can find out how much of an increase you will see here.
Anything else you need to know about the school bond can be found here.