By Justin Lofton
ADA—Steve Turner, Ada Youth Academy Committee member, said the new Ada Youth Academy will provide 115 new jobs to the Ada area.
“(The jobs will be) about 80 to 85 percent professional jobs,” President of Ada Jobs Foundation Mike Southard said. He said 90 to 95 of the 115 positions would be degreed. Average pay would be $43,000 per year and would include benefits, he said.
“The teachers typically have a little bit higher wage than what the public schools would pay,” Southard said. He said the majority of the jobs would be for guidance counselors, nurses and administrators. Turner said, of the 115 jobs, 10 would be teachers and 32 would be coach counselors.
Ada Mayor Darrell Nemecek said the jobs will be a boon for Ada’s economy.
“I am very happy to learn the youth academy will be located here. This is excellent news, as the academy will make a tremendously positive economic impact on our community,” Nemecek said. “This means more professional jobs for Ada and the surrounding area.”
Southard said the academy will be a charter school and will include typical high school course work.
“A lot of it will be more accelerated because many of the students will be behind, academically,” he said. “(Students) will graduate with a high school diploma or get a GED.”
The 144-bed academy will be filled with children between the ages of 14 and 21 who are in the custody of Office of Juvenile Affairs.
“Most of these (students) are going to be high-school-aged kids,” Southard said. “There is the possibility of having someone who is older or out of high school and they would be working or going to college.”
He said there is also a possibility of Jr. High students coming to the academy.
Turner said the students will include youth currently in various juvenile facilities across Oklahoma but serious and violent offenders will not be included.
“These are kids who might have done some type of vandalism. This might be a kid that drove off in a car. These are kids who have done something but not something serious,” Turner said. “There will be some (students) who are (currently) in the system but there will be some in the system who will not be eligible to come here.”
The academy will be located on 65 acres directly across the highway from the CLEET Academy.
“It’s east of CLEET at Egypt Road and Highway 99,” Southard said.
Architects for the project are Architects in Partnership out of Norman.
“They are working with KMD Architects of San Francisco,” Southard said.
He said a contract signing would be held Monday at 10 a.m. at CLEET.
“Landing this academy confirms, once again, that Ada is one of the state’s most progressive and diversified communities,” Nemecek said. “We look forward to welcoming the academy’s staff and students to our community.”
“We’re moving forward. We’ve participated in a fair, open solicitation,” Turner said.