Facts, Figures and FAQ’s about Great Plains
Technology Center’s April 3rd Millage Election
What am I being asked to approve?
Voters within Great Plains Technology Center’s district will be asked to approve one new mil to Great Plains Building Fund. The mil, (one-tenth of one penny) would be levied on non-exempt real property across the district. Great Plains Building fund currently receives four of a possible five mils.
Great Plains Technology Center’s ad valorem millage election scheduled for Tuesday, April 3rd will raise funds that will address building issues (modernization, public safety, repurposing of facilities) at Great Plains Technology Center. It is not an extension of or in any way connected to Lawton Public Schools Bond issue that voters approved last year. Great Plains will not receive any revenue from the LPS bond nor will approval of Great Plains millage impact any bond issue of any school located within the technology center’s district.
Great Plains will use the additional millage to maintain facilities that will allow it to continue teaching technical skills to high school and adult students and incumbent employees to help them successfully enter or advance in the work force.
What comprises Great Plains school district?
Great Plains technology center’s district encompasses all of Comanche and Tillman Counties. It also includes the Snyder school district in Kiowa County and the Big Pasture school district in Cotton County.
Why is the one mil needed?
The state of Oklahoma has reduced funding to Great Plains by more than two million dollars the past eleven years. If the state continues to cut funding to Great Plains at the average rate of the past four years the total loss of revenue to Great Plains will exceed ten million dollars between FY2015 and FY 2023.
Great Plains also needs the mil to maintain and modernize its training and education facilities to extend their functional life. These facilities allow the technology center to carry out its core mission: teach high school and adult students and incumbent employees the technical and vocational skills they need to succeed or advance in the work force.
Great Plains also works with many local businesses and industries to help them remain globally competitive.
In fact, Great Plains has provided customized technical training for Lawton Goodyear since 1978.
Technology changes rapidly. Great Plains students and clients deserve the opportunity to train on technologies used by business and industry in order to remain globally competitive.
Building funds may also be used to construct facilities, purchase instructional technology, maintenance supplies, and to pay for utilities, insurance and salaries for maintenance, information technology and public safety employees.
How much revenue will one mil generate?
One mil will raise about $790-thousand dollars annually based on February, 2018 data. The millage will recur annually unless rescinded by voters.
What are the priority Capital Projects for Great Plains?
Invest in projects that will help Great Plains carry out its basic mission—to provide technical and vocational training and education that will give high school and adult students and incumbent employees the skills they need to successfully enter and advance in the work force.
Priority projects include:
- Replace or renovate the Medium-Heavy Duty Diesel Technology Program. Diesel program advisors recommend Great Plains invest a minimum of $300-thousand dollars (up to $1,000,000 maximum) to modernize this program. Great Plains is exploring less costly career training alternatives that offer greater employment possibilities including: wind energy technician, industrial technician, computer programming, plumbing, digital marketing, robotics and drone operations.
- Expand space for the SCORE program. Great Plains high school dropout and credit recovery program has reconnected more than 1,650 students to a diploma, marketable skills and a job or continuing education.
- Modernize the Combination Collision/Auto Body and Culinary Arts programs. The Culinary Arts kitchen is original to its construction in 1971.
- Repurpose facilities to gain additional space for customized training for Lawton Goodyear, Silver Line Plastics and other local, major manufacturing employers.
Address structural issues in Building 600, (the Economic Development Center) and Building 100. The latter was built in 1971. It is the oldest and largest (126,000 sq. ft.) building at the Lawton campus.
Shifting clay soils are gradually pulling the walls from the flooring in one-half of Building 600. Great Plains teaches advanced level, customized industrial training, to Lawton Goodyear’s (and other major employers’) maintenance technicians in this shop. In fact, Great Plains has trained 99% of Lawton Goodyear’s maintenance technicians since the plant opened in 1978.
While structural issues have not yet impacted the high quality of technical, multi-craft training, it is critical to stabilize the facility if possible and extend its functional life. The industrial training area also needs additional space as demand for training has increased.
An initial cost estimate to stabilize Building 600 is $200,000. Replacement costs would likely exceed $2,000,000.
Concrete floors are beginning to heave in many hallways and classrooms of Building 100.
Invest in the safety and security of Great Plains students, guests and staff at both Lawton and Frederick campuses.
Great Plains would like to convert existing space into a storm shelter at the Lawton campus that would accommodate 400 or more students, staff and guests. Great Plains installed an above ground storm shelter to accommodate 80 persons at its Frederick campus in 2017.
Great Plains also invests in technologies that will allow it to more quickly secure multiple areas in the case of an active shooter or other life threatening event on campus.
What are some recent examples of capital projects that have been completed?
Invested $2,000,000 to replace roofs on all buildings at the Lawton campus. The installation came with a 20-year warranty.
Opened the Business Development Center at the Lawton campus
Started a Cosmetology program and remodeled a large portion of the one building Frederick campus (see photo)
How does Great Plains Technology Center differ from K-12 public schools in how it pays for capital projects?
Comprehensive K-12 schools typically call for a school bond election. Great Plains held its last school bond election in 1978. Instead it relies on building millage.
Since 1987 100% of the Lawton campus and the entire Frederick campus have been built and equipped through Building Fund millage or grants. Great Plains remains debt free and interest free today.
Great Plains saves its building millage from year to year, when budgets allow, and takes a “pay as you go” approach to afford larger capital projects. These savings have also given the technology center an opportunity to meet unexpected training needs that have arisen over the past 30 years.
Here are a few examples of how Great Plains has used its building millage to meet the needs of its communities and students:
- Constructed the Worley Center – 1987 – with its five computer labs and seminar center. GPTC taught computers to more than 12,000 students in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in response to the oil field boom gone bust as workers needed to learn new skills. Great Plains also met overall demand for basic to advanced computer training. When the market for computer training declined it repurposed the labs into a state-of-the art testing center for the school and community. Residents of the district no longer have to travel to OKC or Wichita Falls to take many high stakes tests.
- Opened the Tillman-Kiowa County campus at Frederick in 1990 (and expanded in 1998) and brought technical career education to residents of Tillman County and the Snyder School district.
- Constructed the Great Plains Economic Development Center to provide services to small business owners and customized training to large employers such as Lawton Goodyear.
- Constructed and expanded the Health Occupations Center (1992 and expanded in 1994) to build the workforce for high demand jobs in the health and medical professions. Great Plains health career programs include Practical Nursing, (2,150 graduates to date), Surgical Technology and clinical labs for Radiology Technology and Respiratory Care.
- Repurposed Building 200 into the SCORE Academy to help address the district’s high dropout rate. To date SCORE has reconnected 1,650 high school students to a diploma.
- In 2008 Great Plains created academically rigorous STEM programs: Biomedical Science and Pre-Engineering
- Built Public Safety Training complex, Buildings 800 and 900, 2006-2012, that serves not only Great Plains career programs: Paramedic, Firefighter/EMT and Law Enforcement but also houses Comanche County’s and the City of Lawton’s E-911 Emergency Communications Center, Comanche County’s Emergency Management Center and the Medical Response Center. A state lottery grant provided about three-quarters of the construction costs for Building 900.
- Constructed the Business Development Center in 2017. The BDC is a long term, local effort to invest in our own citizens and “grow our own jobs” by supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. As BDC tenants grow and become profitable they create more jobs and will move out of the business incubator.
Will passage of Great Plains one mil take money away from K-12 public schools?
Absolutely not! In fact one of the primary reasons Great Plains chose Building millage 40 years ago as the way to fund its capital projects was so the technology center would not compete with K-12 public schools for bond funding.
Who is eligible to vote in the April 3rd election?
All registered voters who reside within the Great Plains Technology Center district are eligible to vote.
How much will one mil cost?
Assessment ratios on real property in Oklahoma vary by county between 11% and 12%. The examples given below are for Comanche County and assume a homestead exemption is claimed.
|Assessed Value||Assessment Ratio||Assessed Value||Homestead Assessment
|Times One Mil||Annual Cost w/Exemption|
* The average assessed value for houses in Comanche County Per the Assessor’s office.
The average assessed value is lower in Tillman, Kiowa and Cotton Counties.
For additional information about career education and services at Great Plains Technology Center view the main menu on this website www.greatplains.edu
Economic Development Center – Building 600
Shifting clay soil has caused the walls to begin separating from the concrete floor in the industrial shop located inside Building 600. Great Plains Technology Center provides high end customized industrial maintenance technician training to Lawton Goodyear, Silverline Plastics and other local manufacturers/employers in this 13,000 sq. ft. training space. Our goal is to stabilize and repair the structure to extend the facility’s functional life. An initial minimum cost estimate for repairs is $200,000. Replacement costs would likely exceed two million dollars.
Industrial training also needs additional classroom space as demand for training has increased the past few years.
Culinary in Building 100
Great Plains Capital Plan calls for re-purposing, renovating and modernizing the spaces for several career programs including Culinary Arts. The Culinary Arts kitchen shown in the following three photos looks pretty much like it did when Great Plains original Building 100 was built in 1971. Renovating the kitchen will improve instruction by providing additional space including an instructional kitchen and a more functional layout for production.
We placed our Diesel Technology program on hiatus last summer when were unable to find an instructor. The program, established in the 1980’s, also faced other challenges such as the garage bay openings were too short to accommodate today’s taller semi-tractors. Students had to deflate the tires of the tractor, pull it inside the shop and then inflate the tires. The owner of the largest diesel engine repair shop in Southwest Oklahoma also recommended that we not only install taller doors, but invest in newer engines, trainers and diagnostic equipment to bring the program up to contemporary standards. He estimated the technology center’s investment at between $300,000 and one million dollars, the latter if we built a separate facility. He also said the employment demand for diesel technicians is strongest along the I-40 corridor with fewer employment opportunities in Southwest Oklahoma.
Great Plains took advantage of the hiatus to explore what other career options would provide the greatest benefit to students, employers and our communities. We’ve received more than 700 completed surveys and conducted nine focus groups. Among the programs that we continue to research are wind energy technician, maintenance technician, digital marketing, adult welding, plumbing, computer programming, diesel technology, gaming technology, drone operations and a second year of high school health with multiple certifications.
South Hall of Building 100
A view of the south hallway of Building 100. It’s 12 inch concrete walls provide a good start to creating a storm shelter that could safely accommodate 400 students, staff and guests.
Floors in our 126,000 sq. ft. Building 100—at 48 years of age—the oldest and largest building on campus are also beginning to buckle and settle in spaces throughout. Our goal is to maintain nearly 400-thousand ft. of our classrooms, shops and labs at both campuses to extend their functional life. Ongoing and prudent investment in repairs, renovation, repurposing to meet new needs and modernization are the wisest actions for the long term. Twelve career programs, financial aid, career counseling, student support services, high school and adult enrollment, Adult Career and Enrollment (short term classes) the cafeteria, main auditorium and more are located in this building.
Please vote on April 3rd.
Vote at your precinct.
Building Millage Election
Tuesday, April 3rd
You may vote early in person on Thursday, March 29th
or Friday, March 30th at your local county election board.
Great Plains serves Lawton-Fort Sill and the following school districts:
Lawton, Sterling, Fletcher, Elgin, Indiahoma, Cache, Chattanooga, Geronimo, Big Pasture, Snyder, Frederick, Tipton, Grandfield and Davidson.