South-side elementary school to be shut down three years early over structural issues

Oklahoma City Public Schools will not reopen Shidler Elementary, citing structural issues in the building.

Structural issues at a south-side elementary school have prompted Oklahoma City Public Schools to shut it down three years sooner than expected.

The district Board of Education voted to permanently close Shidler Elementary, 1415 S Byers, in a 6-0 vote Monday evening.

All Shidler students will attend Adelaide Lee Elementary for the 2023-24 school year. Most of Shidler’s students already had moved to Adelaide Lee this spring after a structural engineer informed the district that much of the Shidler building is uninhabitable.

Although part of the building is still usable, Superintendent Sean McDaniel said housing some, but not all, of the school’s student body splits families and raises concerns.

“We do not believe that it’s in our students and our families’ best interest to put them in a building where much of the construction around it has been condemned,” McDaniel said.

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Oklahoma City schools Superintendent Sean McDaniel speaks Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2022, during an announcement of the Film Education Institute of Oklahoma (FEIO) program at Frederick Douglass High School.

Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice said closing the school will have consequences for its families and the nearby community. Shidler is part of the ward Nice represents on the Oklahoma City Council.

Parents will have the burden of transporting their children to another school, and a large, empty building would harm the surrounding neighborhood, Nice said. The fact that there’s a question mark around the property’s future is “an unfortunate piece of where we are.”

“This was a community space, so now this community does not have that large a space to be able to be a community,” Nice said. “Being able to continue to have that type of access is what I believe should continue to happen.”

Oklahoma City Councilwoman Nikki Nice speaks during the Eastside Peace Walk, the second event by Stronger Together OKC, Sunday, June 5, 2022.

Officials weighing next steps for the Shidler Elementary building

Repairs at Shidler are estimated to cost $2 million and would take nine months while the building is unoccupied, the district reported. OKCPS officials are reviewing whether to pay for the repairs or to find another use for the property.

“Please note, right now, there is no intention of utilizing the Shidler facility as an elementary school after this school year,” the district posted on the Shidler webpage.

The district planned to merge the two south-side schools in a new construction on the Adelaide Lee campus in the 2026-27 school year. The 2022 OKCPS Bond budgeted $29.33 million for the new school building.

That consolidation came sooner than expected because of Shidler’s structural issues. Students from both schools will share the old Adelaide Lee building while a new facility is under construction.

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Location for new Belle Isle Enterprise High School selected

Another major bond project is taking shape.

McDaniel announced at Monday’s board meeting the district chose a location for the future Belle Isle Enterprise High School. An empty 65-acre property on East Wilshire Boulevard just east of Broadway Extension is under contract for the school to purchase.

The district estimated the new school will cost $76.16 million. It would add a third application high school to OKCPS and create a direct pathway for students at Belle Isle Enterprise Middle School, who currently don’t have an affiliated high school.

At Monday’s meeting, the school board agreed to give McDaniel the authority to purchase another property for a consolidated Wheeler and Capitol Hill middle schools. That bond project is expected to cost $58.68 million.

OKCPS plans to open the new Belle Isle, Adelaide Lee and Wheeler-Capitol Hill constructions by August 2026.

Reporter Nuria Martinez-Keel covers K-12 and higher education throughout the state of Oklahoma. Have a story idea for Nuria? She can be reached at or on Twitter at @NuriaMKeel. Support Nuria’s work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Oklahoma City Public Schools votes to shut down Shidler Elementary