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Omaha Public Schools Delivers on New, Improved Learning Spaces for Students

Hundreds of students will fill classrooms at Bluestem Middle in a few weeks. It’s Omaha Public Schools' last of five new schools to open in two years. Several miles away, students and staff at Spring Lake Elementary will start the school year with new and improved classrooms and other upgrades.
“There are a lot of little details that enhance our building and just make it ready for the next 15 or 20 years of students,” said Spring Lake Principal Katy Cattlett. “When the environment around you feels bright, welcoming and fresh, it really is going to set the stage for a wonderful school year to come.”
These projects are among dozens completed since our 2014 Facilities Capital Plan and 2016 Comprehensive Facilities Assessment outlined the highest priority needs for our district. Thanks to community support, Omaha Public Schools has addressed safety, security and technology needs, capital improvements, and renovations.

“Everything we did, as far as improvements in the buildings, help staff and students,” said Brad Boganowski, who managed the projects for Omaha Public Schools. “Making sure the infrastructure works for each one of the buildings is important.”

Since 2018 alone, our district has completed nearly 25 projects, including five new schools and upgrades to existing buildings.

“The environment for our students is much better,” said Charles Wakefield, Omaha Public Schools chief officer of operations and talent services. “More consistent air conditioning and heating, more consistent lighting, a better foundation within our buildings to support our students.”

At Morton Middle, our district updated heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems that were initially installed more than 60 years ago.

“We have new windows that open now and air-conditioning in the gym,” said Matthew Williams, Morton Middle principal. “It was fun to see how they seamlessly put together the 1960s into the 2020s.”

The Morton Middle project included 13 new classrooms designed with collaboration and flexibility in mind.

“You can do a lot with these spaces. One classroom can be a math or a science room,” said Williams. “You’re not stuck where you are anymore.”

Our new schools increased capacity in high-growth areas.
“I hear comments about Bluestem Middle, Westview High, Buena Vista High, Forest Station Elementary and Pine Elementary and staff are very proud to be there. Students love it. It’s a great environment for our kids,” said Wakefield.
Omaha Public Schools responsible fiscal management of the 2018 plan created an opportunity to invest nearly $4 million in additional commitments. Projects are expected to finish on time and within budget this fall.
“It’s exciting that we’re wrapping up this project and that the community trusts us to do this well,” said Wakefield. “I believe we have done it well and that the community is getting value for their investment.”