School district to invest in 7,500 sq. ft. multipurpose building

Robert Smith
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

The Pawhuska Board of Education on Friday, April 15 unanimously approved a contract between the school district and MA+ Architecture, of Oklahoma City, to move ahead with a project to build a new elementary multipurpose building.

Superintendent David Cash said federal COVID-19 relief funds are to be used to pay for the project. There will be no need to draw from the district’s General Fund or Building Fund. He told the Journal-Capital that he would like for the new building to be completed by about September 2022, but with federal funds being used and the possibility of supply chain disruptions it could easily be later than that.

Cash said the new building is to be 7,500 square feet in size — a gymnasium type of structure that could be used for school assemblies, award programs, youth basketball and wrestling, and as a shelter during bad weather.

The project is expected to cost about $900,000, Cash said. Pawhuska Public Schools is currently in very secure financial condition, he told the Board of Education in the special meeting last Friday. The regular monthly board meeting, originally set for the evening of Monday, April 11, was canceled due to lack of a quorum and rescheduled for 4 p.m. on Good Friday.

“This is probably the first time in 18 years I’ve seen federal collections at this point rivaling local collections,” Cash said regarding the pace at which various forms of revenue are reaching the district. He is in his fourth year as Pawhuska superintendent, but has been a school administrator considerably longer.

The Board of Education welcomed a new member Friday, as Shannon Shaw Duty was sworn in. She is to serve the last two years of a five-year board term that Addie Roanhorse began in April 2019.

Roanhorse resigned for personal reasons just over two years into the term. Craig Walker was then appointed to the seat, and served until an election could be held. Shannon Shaw Duty was the only candidate to come forward. She made an immediate impact, with Cash crediting her Friday for helping him make a connection with Ryan Red Corn and the Nike N7 Program that will help the school district save money on student athletic gear.

N7 is a Nike corporate outreach effort to help Native American communities.

“Shannon got to work before she even got sworn in,” Cash said, appreciatively. The board Friday voted to approve a facility use request for Red Corn and the Nike N7 Program to film a national commercial spot.

”So, this is quite an honor,” Cash said. “They’re going to be shooting, using our facilities, for about a week.”

Board members on Friday lamented the death in late March of Justin Sellers, 49, a citizen of the Osage Nation who served for a decade on the Pawhuska Board of Education. Sellers was a 1990 graduate of Pawhuska High School, where he had been an outstanding athlete.

Board President Scott Laird called Sellers’s death “a sudden and tragic loss for our community.” Board member Tom Boone recalled Sellers encouraging him in regard to service on the Board of Education. Sellers held the board seat that Duty just filled.

Boone, an incumbent board member who ran for re-election unopposed this year, is beginning a new five-year term.

Board offices were reorganized Friday. Laird will continue as president, and Justin Turney is now vice president. Shannon Shaw Duty is the new board clerk.

The board on Friday accepted the resignation, effective June 30, of Athletic Director Daniel McEntire. Cash told the Journal-Capital he had already interviewed three persons for the athletic director position and hoped to announce a selection soon.

Photo Cutline: Shannon Shaw Duty takes the oath Friday, April 15 to become a member of the Pawhuska Board of Education. She was subsequently chosen to serve as clerk of the board.