— Editor's note: Information in this story, which was printed Dec. 17, 2017, contained inaccurate information about the Jefferson School District's decisions on bond-funded construction. The district decided Dec. 11 to move forward with traditional construction methods, and at this point does not feel it can include projects at the high school in its work. That information was not available at press time but has since been corrected in subsequent stories.
Voters in the Sweet Home and Jefferson school districts also passed construction/renovation bond measures in May for work in their districts.
In Sweet Home, voters authorized the school district to sell up to $4 million in bonds to make major repairs to school buildings, particularly Sweet Home Junior High. The district will receive $4 million in matching funds from the state to allow for $8 million in projects.
Work is to start next summer at the junior high, where bond money will pay to replace the prefabricated buildings that house the cafeteria, locker rooms and Basic Life Skills programs.
The school also will get an auxiliary gym, new windows and a new entryway and office area that would allow for tighter security. Crews plan to build up the flat roof with a polystyrene frame that will keep water from pooling.
Voters told the district they wanted to see bond money used to benefit as many students as possible. The high school received a major makeover in 2003, so the junior high, built in 1962, was the next logical place, administrators said.
Residents are being invited to two public forums, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 9 and 11, to see designs and give feedback. The school board will meet Jan. 22 to sign off on the final design.
Bond money also will be used to improve security at the district's elementary schools, another voter priority, Superintendent Tom Yahraes said. First on the list is Hawthorne, which is slated to receive a new vestibule entrance, a new health room and a secure area adjacent to the front office where staff can meet with families or parents can pick up kids.
Hawthorne, Foster and Holley schools all received grants of approximately $1.5 million each for seismic work, so bond construction is being timed to fold around that, Yahraes said.
No bond funds have been spent to date. Instead, they're continuing to gain interest, Yahraes said. The total available was $8,016,309 as of Nov. 30.
In Jefferson, voters narrowly approved a $14.4 million measure, which will be used to build a new middle school adjacent to the high school, construct an eight-classroom addition and gym at Jefferson Elementary School and make various repairs to Jefferson High School.
The current gym and cafeteria at the middle school likely will be kept for community use, administrators have said. A seismic grant is paying for a new roof over that structure to keep it viable.
The district will receive $4 million in matching funds from the state, providing about $18.4 million for construction and repairs.
The plan is to build the new school and the classroom addition and gym using dome-shaped structures.* Jefferson's bond committee found dome shapes are more cost-effective than more traditional buildings and are rated better in terms of earthquake, fire and tornado safety.
The new classrooms at Jefferson Elementary will replace temporary classroom buildings. The gym will be the school's first.
The new school will be built on the west side of the high school campus so the two buildings could share resources.
Bond money will be used to fix the heating and cooling system at Jefferson High School and work on other issues, including the track and grandstands, depending on how much can be saved from the major construction projects.
In November, members of the Jefferson School Board voted unanimously to approve entering into contract negotiations with Steele & Associates of Bend as the architectural and engineering firm for district bond projects. At a special meeting later in the month, board members awarded a construction manager/general contract service contract to Gerding Builders, LLC.
* Information in this story, which was printed Dec. 17, 2017, contained inaccurate information about the Jefferson School District's decisions on bond-funded construction. The district decided Dec. 11 to move forward with traditional construction methods, and at this point does not feel it can include projects at the high school in its work. That information was not available at press time but has since been corrected in subsequent stories.