Storms possible this weekend

Recreation centers to extend operating hours, OKC Zoo to host all-day camps during teacher walkout

OKLAHOMA CITY – The City of Oklahoma City announced that local recreation centers will extend operating hours and the Oklahoma City Zoo will host all-day camps during the possible teacher walkout.

The Parks and Recreation Department and Oklahoma City Zoo will offer additional services for children beginning April 2 in the event of a teacher walkout in local public schools.

OKC Parks will extend operating hours at nine recreation centers from April 2 until the walkout is over, and the Zoo will host all-day camps, the City said in a news release Wednesday.

Access to the recreation centers is free. The Zoo camps require registration and payment.

Recreation centers

From April 2 until the walkout is over, these nine recreation centers will be open for school children from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays:

  • Douglass Recreation Center, 900 N Frederick Douglass Ave., (405) 297-1416 (EMBARK Route 022 to MLK and Douglass plus 3 blocks)
  • Macklanburg Recreation Center, 2234 NW 117th Street, (405) 297-1428 (EMBARK Route 005 to NW 188th and Penn)
  • Melrose Recreation Center, 7800 W Melrose Lane, (405) 297-1431 (EMBARK Route 038 to Council and Melrose plus 3 blocks)
  • Minnis Lakeview Recreation Center, 12520 NE 36th Street, (405) 297-1432 (EMBARK Route 019 to NE 36th and Smith)
  • Pilot Recreation Center, 1435 NW 2nd Street, (405) 297-1438 (EMBARK Route 009 to Main and McKinley plus 2 blocks)
  • Pitts Recreation Center, 1920 N Kate Ave., (405) 297-1440 (EMBARK Route 002 to NE 20th and Lottie plus 2 blocks)
  • Schilling Recreation Center, 539 SE 25th Street, (405) 297-1442 (EMBARK Route 011 to SE 25th and Central pluls 2 blocks)
  • Sellers Recreation Center, 8301 S Villa Ave., (405) 297-1445 (EMBARK Route 016 to SW 82nd Penn plus 6 blocks)
  • Southern Oaks Recreation Center, 400 SW 66th Street, (405) 297-1449 (EMBARK Route 040 to SW 67th and Walker plus 3 blocks)

Full-time and part-time staff will rearrange their schedules and potentially work extended hours to make the longer operating hours possible, giving local public school students a safe and engaging place to go in case of a walkout.

OKC Parks is working on a plan with Oklahoma City Public Schools and the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma to provide meals for students at the recreation centers. The Food Bank is accepting donations and organizing volunteer opportunities to help feed public school students at regionalfoodbank.org/supportstudents.

The Parks Department intends to keep the extended operating hours until the walkout is over, or until May 29 when summer programming begins. Summer camps and other activities are planned to keep children engaged all summer long. Visit okc.gov/parks for details and registration for summer programs and activities.

Zoo camps and other activities

The Zoo’s Education Department will be hosting daily full-day camps on weekdays in April in the event of a walkout. These camps offer unique and wild adventures to interest children ages 4–11. Snacks are provided, but campers must bring their lunch.

Advanced registration and payment required. All campers are required to bring a copy of their immunizations. Full-day camps are 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m., with drop-off at the Zoo’s Education Center from 8:20–8:30 a.m.

The cost is $45 per child per day. For additional information or to register, call (405) 425-0218 or visit okczoo.org.

The Zoo will also be open for regular admission during its normal operating hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

Students can find opportunities to learn throughout the Zoo, from wildlife and conservation signs located in each animal habitat to in-person presentations by the Zoo’s caretakers and observing some of the world’s most fascinating and critically endangered animals.

Regular admission is $11 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

Read Across America is also scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 3 at the Zoo. Author/illustrator Hannah Harrison is this year’s special guest. Children can participate in a variety of activities that promote reading and literacy, enjoy live music by Sugar Free Allstars and meet Nature Cat from PBS Kids – all while exploring the Zoo. The first 1,000 children to attend get a free book. Event activities are free with Zoo admission. Visit okczoo.org for details.

 

Possible Teacher Walkout

The Oklahoma Education Association is seeking a $10,000 pay raise for Oklahoma teachers over three years, a $5,000 pay raise for support professionals over three years, a cost-of-living adjustment for retirees and the restoration of funding for education and core government services.

OEA announced that it is tentatively planning a teacher walkout for April 2 if legislators don’t increase teacher and staff pay.

“Our goals remain the same- to force the legislature to pass a plan that provides teachers and support professionals a significant pay raise, and restores critical funding to our classrooms,” said OEA President Alicia Priest in a video posted to the union’s Facebook page. “We will not allow lawmakers, once again, to shortchange our students, our teachers and our support professionals.”

Within the past week, several school districts have announced that they will support their teachers if they decide to walk out.