PANAMA, Okla — Voters in Panama approved a $5.95 million bond on Sept. 12, 2023, to pay for a 9,500-square-foot seventh and eighth-grade center and band room without raising taxes for residents in the school district.
“[We're] super excited about the support from our community. That shows they they're looking for progress and looking for a new building” said Panama Schools Superintendent Dusty Walden.
Right now Panama schools are split up into two campuses. The elementary schools are on one side of the main street, and the middle and high schools are on the other.
“We would all like to get all our students eventually to one campus,” said Walden. “There's 160 acres, I don't believe there's a prettier campus in the county.”
The new center will go behind the upper elementary school, which is also the side where most of the athletic fields are located.
“On this side of the street, we have football. On the other side of the street, we have basketball, baseball, and softball. Eventually, we'd like to get the football field there" said Walden. “You don't have to worry about kids driving to the basketball gym or the baseball field. It just makes it a whole lot safer.”
It will also have a new band room for fifth to eighth-graders that will also serve as a safety room.
"Our elementary band is currently going to their library to practice. So now our fifth-grade students will have their own place to call home" said Walden.
Walden said this new facility will fit the needs of the growing school, and the project is set to take two years to complete.
“The funds will actually be available in July. So we will put bids out in June. And they've told me when we get bids out that it will take nine to 12 months to build,” said Walden.
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