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011718-adh-nws-Harrisburg Bond03-my

Water dribbles towards a drain into the Harrisburg Middle School locker room from a leak in the roof on a morning in January.

HARRISBURG — The Harrisburg School District will have at least $11.1 million to spend if voters agree to pass a bond measure May 15 to make repairs to district schools. 

If approved, the 15-year bond will add 50 cents to the district's current bond tax rate of $1.09 per $1,000 of assessed value. That rate would become $1.59. A home with an assessed value of $200,000 would see an increase of about $99 per year.

The measure is expected to bring in $8.9 million in itself, but the Oregon Department of Education has agreed to a guaranteed $2.2 million in state matching funds, with up to $1.8 million more possible depending on whether voters pass other bond measures on Oregon ballots this spring.

"Just knowing that there’s an automatic increase on your investment by $2.2 million if you do it at this time — we want to be able to strike and make that happen," said  Justin Thomas, a member of the Harrisburg School Board and chairman of the Eagles Political Action Committee in support of the bond.

An open house and informational forum on the bond measure is planned for 7 p.m. Monday, April 23, in the high school's multipurpose room, 400 S. Ninth St. Visitors are invited to learn more and ask questions, Thomas said. 

Bond supporters plan to canvass neighborhoods next Thursday and Friday and also place informational door hangers on Friday.

Harrisburg's elementary, middle and high schools all are slated to receive improvements and upgrades if the bond measure passes.

Plans include resurfacing the high school track, which is in such poor condition the district has not been able to have a home meet in five years. (Part of the proceeds from the Pacific Northwest Marathon, which ends in Harrisburg on Sept. 15, also will go toward track work, according to the event's promotional materials.)

Work also is planned on roofs, electrical and plumbing systems and heating and ventilation systems throughout the district.

Safety and security measures will be a part of the bond, although plans aren't firm yet. Thomas said discussion is centering on adding security cameras and possibly redesigning school entrances to create vestibules where visitors have to wait to be buzzed inside the main buildings.

Depending on how much money eventually becomes available, the district also wants to pay for some classroom additions, especially a new science lab at Harrisburg High School. Right now, sinks in the high school chemistry lab are coated with rust and no longer drain.

Thomas said he knows of no organized opposition to the bond, and he hears none when he talks to people — or, at least, not when they know how the money will be used.

“Everyone I talk to basically says yeah, I see the need, I know the need is there," he said.