Ozark Breaks Ground on OMS Storm Shelter
It might not have been the typical groundbreaking with shovels moving dirt in the sunshine, but the rain didn’t damper the excitement as Ozark School District officially broke ground March 23 on the Ozark Middle School storm shelter and new entrance, a project part of the $19 million no-tax-increase bond issue voters approved on the April 5, 2022, ballot.
“We are really excited about this last bond issue because we’re able to put storm shelters in every facility,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Bauman said. “We’re not only addressing some of the needs to accommodate growth, but also addressing that safety and security factor.”
The OMS storm shelter will be located in the courtyard where the gazebo was, and will serve as additional classrooms. The exterior of the storm shelter will be complete before the 2023-24 school year. The interior classrooms will be open for the 2024-25 school year. The project also includes a new entrance and visitor parking lot.
School Board President Sarah Adams Orr thanked the Ozark community for voting on the bond issue and allowing the District to put in the storm shelters.
“Ever since Dr. (Kevin) Patterson was superintendent, the public told us they wanted to put a focus on safety and security, and community growth. Dr. Bauman and the team have continued to engage the public, and they told us that safety and security should be number one,” she said. “It’s a great day when we can start a project that the community voted for.”
OMS Principal Dr. Eric Russell said he is looking forward to the expansion to the school.
“The new addition will house seven classrooms, which will accommodate some growth we are seeing in Ozark – on average 3 percent every year. I think that’s going to jump, so these spaces will be filled very quickly,” he said. “We’re excited for the amazing spaces that will be provided. We know it will be an enriching environment for our staff and our students. It’s just a fantastic thing to be able to grow our District and our building.”
Assistant Superintendent of Operations Dr. Curtis Chesick recognized the project architect, Esterly Schneider & Associates, Inc., and the construction manager at risk, Branco Enterprises, Inc.
“It’s a great partnership already. As you can see, we already broke ground,” he said pointing to the courtyard. “We broke ground ahead of schedule because of the hard work that Esterly Schneider has done in the design and the work Branco has done.”
The April 2022 bond issue also included storm shelters at Tiger Paw and Ozark High School, along with an indoor activities building at OHS. A groundbreaking ceremony for those projects will be March 31. Find more details at www.ozarktigers.org/bond.