Westside Community Schools could see major improvements if bond issue passes

Posted at 10:36 PM, Mar 13, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Ten projects could be addressed within the Phase Two Bond Issue at Westside Community Schools if voters approve it in May.

3 News Now went to Westgate Elementary School on Monday, which is one of three Westside schools that could be completely rebuilt due to the bond.

"A lot of the schools have gone through the phase one and now I think trying to catch up and get the rest of the schools to the same level of facilities that the other ones do," said Ken Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick is a parent at Westgate and came to learn more about Westside community schools' future construction goals.

"We are looking for $121 million for what we are calling phase two of our three-phase school construction process," said Superintendent Dr. Mike Lucas.

It includes three re-builds as well as increased safety and security measures at several other schools.

"This would be asking for 4.9% of those pennies back onto our tax levy," said Lucas.

Ryan Zimmermas moved to the Westgate neighborhood about a year ago.

"We don't have any kids yet, but if we did in the future we definitely would want to know kind of what to expect for our school systems," said Zimmermas.

If the bond issue is passed on May 9, then projects would begin step-by-step.

"We would then take a year, May of 2023 until May of 2024 and do a lot of design and planning and then," said Lucas.

By the summer of 2024, projects would begin in phases and Westgate Elementary would be one of the first.

The school was rebuilt before but that was after the 1975 tornado and the school district says it was done quickly.

"This was basically ground zero and Westgate was hastily put back together over the next couple of months and started actually that school year back here on campus. And there is a lot of deficiencies that we are trying to address through phase two," said Lucas.

Kirkpatrick says Westgate could use the upgrades.

"There are some challenges with Westgate in particular, having to travel through one classroom to get to another classroom, a big disruption for kids that are in that class," said he said.

The district showed 3 News Now Reporter Molly Hudson things like the lunchroom, gym and auditorium that are all in the same space.

"It was fine for, you know the 50s, 60s and 70s but you know times have changed and a different way of teaching and learning," said Kirkpatrick.

All registered voters residing in District 66 should receive ballots from the Douglas County Election Commission in the mail between April 17 and 28.

Meetings and tours will be held through May 3 at various schools and times.

Westside Phase 2

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