- J.P. Lord
Omaha Public Schools Highlights Progress of 2018 Bond Program
Four years after voters approved Omaha Public Schools’ 2018 Phase 2 Bond Program, our district is getting ready to celebrate an important milestone.
Two new high schools and two new elementary schools will open in August 2022 to serve our students. At the same time, capital improvement projects and renovations at existing buildings have reached the finish line or remain on schedule for completion by fall 2023.
New schools include Forest Station Elementary, Pine Elementary, Buena Vista High and Westview High.
"They are beautiful and unique buildings that are built for collaboration and teaching our students to be engaged and responsible for their learning," explained Thomas Lee, Westview High principal.
As construction concludes on each, school leaders are focused on finishing touches before welcoming students.
“It’s all about them,” said Adriana Vargas, Pine Elementary principal. “[We want] what is best for our students. Planning for that is always very exciting.”
A fifth new school, Bluestem Middle, is scheduled to open in August 2023.
The $409.9 million bond program includes 25 projects. In addition to our new schools, crews are updating mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems at more than a dozen existing schools.
Omaha Public Schools Construction Supervisor Brad Boganowski compared these systems to the human body. He says taking care of a building's health is just as important as taking care of the health of the people who use it.
"We are taking care of the heart, kidneys and lungs of the school. The health of the building translates to the health and comfort of the folks inside," Boganowski said.
Omaha Public Schools has taken many steps to plan for the five new schools.
- In 2019, our Board of Education approved new elementary and middle school boundaries.
- In 2021, our district finalized the new High School Student Assignment Plan to coincide with the opening of new schools.
- In 2021, our board also approved Omaha Public Schools College & Career Academies and Pathways, an evolution of high school programming.
“Our community showed their faith in us by giving us the bond to work with our kids and build outstanding educational environments for our kids,” said Charles Wakefield, Omaha Public Schools' chief operating officer.
Wakefield noted that in addition to improving existing schools and building new ones, the Omaha Public Schools bond program benefits the community in other ways.
“We are very proud that over $40 million of that bond money went back to small and emerging businesses,” he said. “That is a tremendous investment in our local economy, a tremendous investment in our local community.”
See a complete overview of our 2018 Bond Program, including project timelines and scope of work.