Ozark Breaks Ground on OHS, Tiger Paw Storm Shelters
Safety and growth took center stage Friday, April 21 as Ozark School District officially broke ground on projects at Ozark High School and Tiger Paw Early Childhood Center. These projects include storm shelters at both locations, as well as an indoor practice facility at OHS, all 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 Tiger Paw storm shelter, located on the south side of the school on Church Street, will drastically improve lunch time for Ozark’s littlest learners as the gym currently doubles as the cafeteria, and there is no kitchen so meals have to be delivered everyday from East Elementary.
Tiger Paw Principal Dr. Elizabeth Dawson said the additional space benefits the entire District and community.
“This will really help us increase the functionality of our building,” Dawson said. “We can add spots for more students in our community to really get that positive start to school and start their experience with Ozark School District. We just know that it's going to just make such an incredible positive impact overall.”
At the high school, the storm shelter will be located on the north end near the wrestling barn and greenhouse. The shelter will also serve as an additional gym for P.E. classes, sports and activities, something desperately needed as Ozark continues to grow. Down the hill from the storm shelter in the lower parking lot near Tiger Stadium, an indoor practice facility will be constructed. The facility will include 20-to-20 yard line turf and will be available for P.E., athletics, activities and community groups.
OHS Principal Dr. Jeremy Brownfield said these facilities will not only serve high school students who will now have more room for activities, but also the entire community.
“We want all of the kids in the community to want to be Ozark Tigers,” he said. “With these projects, there are just a great deal of opportunities, not just for our ninth through 12th grade students, but really all students.”
School Board President Sarah Adams Orr thanked the Ozark community for voting on the bond issue and putting an emphasis on keeping students safe.
“Ozark parents, residents and other stakeholders have put a premium on safety and security while accommodating growth,” she said. “On behalf of the Ozark Schools Board of Education I want to thank administrators for their commitment and hard work they have done in fulfilling the wishes of parents, businesses and the community while making all of our buildings safe and secure.”
Assistant Superintendent of Operations Dr. Curtis Chesick recognized the project architect, Esterly Schneider & Associates, Inc., and the construction manager at risk, Branco Enterprises, Inc.
“We’re going to build a great building,” Chesick said. “We know we picked the right team because they keep asking questions like ‘Can we start early?’ The answer is yes, you can always start early.”
These are the second and third 2022 bond projects to break ground. Last month Ozark Schools broke ground on a storm shelter and new entrance at Ozark Middle School. All 2022 bond projects are on schedule to be finished by the start of 2024-2025 school year. Find more details at www.ozarktigers.org/bond