September 6th, 2022 marks the date of the official groundbreaking of our new Bixby High School! It was a beautiful day for the event and we are so excited for what's in store at BPS!
Supt. Miller shared a message of gratitude this morning with our community, diving deep into some Bixby Public Schools history while casting a vision for the future...
The motto of our recent bond campaign, “Building an Extraordinary Future Together," was actually borrowed from our construction manager, Nabholz. Here’s what we know to be true – the education of our youth is truly a team effort. So, we also want to thank all of the people in our community who have contributed in getting us to this important day.
I respect and value our school board members, past and present, who have set an aggressive vision and course for Bixby Public Schools.
Of course, we greatly appreciate our Bixby citizens who voted overwhelmingly in 2016 and again in 2022 to support this project and many others across the district. Thank you to those who have been involved in the many bond planning committees and study groups over the past few years.
We are constantly humbled by the generous support of our community partners, the Bixby Education Endowment Foundation, the Bridge the Gap organization, our parents and school volunteers, and our faith leaders and their organizations. Finally, I want to thank all of our school administrators, teachers and school staff who commit themselves everyday to improve the lives of children in our community.
I now want to take a few steps down memory lane. Just a few hundred yards northwest of where we’re gathering this morning (the corner of Fifth and Main), the first Bixby High School was built in 1921. Though separated by a century of time, there are a few similarities between that building and the one we’re getting ready to construct.
First, the construction of a high school in Bixby in 1920 was met with high anticipation. There was a special election of the community that authorized the sale of $100,000 in bonds to erect a high school that “when completed, would be one of the finest school buildings in the state and would reflect credit upon any community with a scholastic population the size of Bixby.” We have that same goal today.
That first building was also built during a period of rapid growth in our community, as the district had grown nearly 50% in five years, from 240 students in 1915 to nearly 350 in 1920. In comparison, the largest high school class when I arrived in Bixby a little over four years ago in 2018 was 422 students. When this building opens in 2024, at least two of the grade levels will have more than 600 students.
Coincidentally, the first high school was also built immediately after the worst global pandemic in a hundred years - the Spanish Flu which ended in 1920.
However, there are a few notable differences between these two projects.
That first two-story brick building included about ten classrooms, housed about 70 students, and cost approximately $50,000 to build. This new 200,000 sq ft building will house about 1,700 students in about 60 classrooms and cost close to $70 million dollars.
Forty-one years later, in 1961 (also the year I was built), an $800,000 bond issue was passed to remodel the high school into an elementary school and to purchase 25 acres on Riverview as the site of the new high school, field house and auditorium. The high school was completed in time for the 1965-66 school term. I think many of you will agree that it’s time for a new one!
As you will soon discover, this location will be very busy over the next 22 months. This bulldozer and other heavy equipment will begin moving huge volumes of dirt from one place to another. Tens of thousands of cubic feet of concrete will be poured. Hundreds of steel beams will be erected into place. Hundreds of thousands of man hours will be spent creating a building that will serve generations of Bixby children...a school building of which we hope our community will be immensely proud … just as they were in 1921 and 1966.
When this new building opens its doors in 2024, it will serve as further evidence that we live in a community that believes education is vitally important in providing opportunities for all children in Bixby. It will symbolize a community that understands that investing in education is a shared responsibility and we do it willingly for our children and the future of our city. It will exemplify a community that is vibrant and fast-growing, while remaining firmly tethered to our small town values, our sense of character, and our community pride.
What you will see when we all are finished will be a magnificent new school with state-of-the-art technology, modern safety enhancements, and student-friendly classrooms with the latest amenities.
But even more than that, this building will energize us to meet our district’s mission of igniting the potential of all students and fulfill our vision to be a place where every single student feels empowered to learn, excel, and own their future!
Thank you for all of your support in helping us make this vision come alive. We appreciate you being here today.