062917-adh-nws-new-school-004.jpg (copy)

Shown in 2017, the proposed site for a new elementary school, left, is next to the track at Timber Ridge School. GAPS is wrapping up an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Albany to provide land for the school and for a new city park.

Anibal Ortiz, Mid-Valley Media (File)

Albany city and school district officials will wrap up a land transfer agreement later this month that will make possible a new school and city park.

The intergovernmental agreement was one of several items discussed Monday by members of the Albany City Council and the Albany School Board as they gathered for a joint meeting at City Hall.

The two agencies share interests and resources that affect one another, and gather at least once a year to provide updates on those issues. In addition to the land agreement, Monday's meeting included reports on coordinating work for Greater Albany Public Schools' bond measure, a grant application to improve emergency communication, a cooperative library project and a plan to train eighth-graders in CPR.

The intergovernmental agreement transfers about 10 acres of a 17-acre parcel on Timber Ridge Street Northeast from city ownership to GAPS. The school district plans to build a new elementary school there with part of the proceeds from a $159 million bond measure. The city will use another 2 to 3 acres of the parcel to create a new park.

Jeff Blaine, Public Works Engineering and Community Development director, said the property agreement was to close Tuesday. Russ Allen, GAPS director of finance, said members of the school board will vote on a resolution at their next meeting to sign off on the deal.

The bond measure will affect both the city and school district, especially when it comes to permits for projects. Blaine said the city has assigned a point person, Matthew Ruettgers, development services manager, to work with the school district's project manager to help coordinate projects as they come up.

Chuck Perino, emergency manager for the city of Albany, said the city is applying for $194,849 in federal funds from Oregon Emergency Management to pay for radios, antennas and other equipment. The equipment will be used to set up a secure radio channel for the two agencies to communicate in an emergency.

Perino said he hopes to hear news of the grant sometime later this fall. If the full amount is received, the plan is to install 26 antennas and a repeater location, and provide radios for 21 school buildings, the bus garage, the district office, the facilities office and the city's emergency coordination office.

On another matter, Ed Gallagher of the Albany Public Library updated councilors on a program that allows all students in the Albany district, regardless of their address, to use their student body cards as library cards. 

The program has been around for a little more than a year, Gallagher said. The idea is to promote literacy, especially in younger children, by making library access easier.

"This is an equity, an access issue, for the most vulnerable students," he said.

The library has 7,238 students in its database who have used their cards to check out more than 10,000 items, Gallagher said. The information comes out of the database after the students graduate. 

Micah Smith, chairman of the Albany School Board, asked whether students could use their cards to download e-books or use computers to borrow a book from the main library that would then be delivered directly to their schools.

That technology would be costly to set up, but it's physically possible if someone were to pay for it, Gallagher said. "I think we can head in that direction." 

In response to a comment by Councilor Rich Kellum about whether Albany taxpayers should foot the bill for card access outside the city limits, Gallagher said the program is funded by donations from the Friends of the Albany Public Library. The cost for the program was not immediately available.

Fire Chief John Bradner was the last speaker, outlining a plan to send firefighters and paramedics to Albany schools starting March 1 to train eighth-graders on CPR and on using automated external defibrillators.

The program is meant to satisfy Senate Bill 79, passed in 2015, which requires school districts to provide such instruction. And it's a good chance for another partnership between the district and the city, Bradner said. 

As with Pulse Point, a phone-based app that alerts CPR- and AED-trained citizens to nearby heart attack emergency calls, the training is meant to increase the number of people with potentially lifesaving skills throughout the community.

"The more of this we have out there, the more people being trained, the more lives we're going to save," Bradner said.

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