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Three Corvallis schools' updates underway as part of bond program
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Three Corvallis schools' updates underway as part of bond program

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The Corvallis School District is continuing to make headway this summer in the remodeling and reconstruction of several schools.

Construction is underway on Garfield Elementary, Lincoln Elementary and Cheldelin Middle schools, which are just a fraction of all the planned updates in the district’s $200 million facilities upgrade program, funded by a bond measure passed in 2018.

Senior project manager Dale Kuykendall of the construction company Wenaha Group provided a run-down of the three schools’ new features.

At Garfield, where asbestos abatement, seismic retrofitting and other updates are coming to the 65-year-old building, students and teachers will be able to enjoy 14 renovated classrooms and six new classrooms to replace three freestanding modular rooms.

In addition to Garfield’s new classrooms, there will be an updated library, two “collaboration areas,” a lab and an arts and sciences space, as well as three (two remodeled and one new) restrooms for students and more for teachers. Outside, the covered bike parking area has been moved, the front entrance has been expanded and will have updated security, and the south side of the school will have a fresh parking lot with an electric car charging station.

“The design team did a really great job when they analyzed the site,” said Brian Gruenemay, one of the project managers at Garfield.

Other details the crew will not touch on until the site’s completion in 2021, Gruenemay said, include ensuring that the trees they cut down for utility purposes get replaced with native species.

Lincoln Elementary still stands as-is, but the 1940s-era building will be torn down next year after its replacement is fully erected.

For now, there is an elaborate maze of trenches behind the school, where crew members have been preparing the land for the new building’s foundation. According to Brenda Downum, CSD spokeswoman, construction there was able to get a head start due to the coronavirus-related shutdown of schools.

“It’s going to be an incredible building,” said Todd VanBeek, assistant superintendent of the Lincoln construction site. “This is a long gain for the community.”

According to Kuykendall, the new Lincoln’s interior will have 22 classrooms, an arts and sciences room, a music room, a library, a lab, a gym, a multi-use cafeteria and four collaboration spaces.

The outside will feature a new playground and street for busing in kids which will connect the two residential roads on either side of the lot.

Students will continue to attend school in the old building until the new building’s completion next year. Kuykendall estimates the old building’s demolition and subsequent clean-up will be completed by the summer of 2022.

Downum said some parts of the old building should be salvageable, including door hardware, plumbing, HVAC parts and more. Even some of the playground equipment  — all of which has already been removed — has been set aside for reuse in the new structure.

Cheldelin Middle School’s renovations, Kuykendall said, will include seismic and HVAC adjustments, a modified administrative office, improved building access for people with disabilities, the addition of an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot, a new arts and sciences lab (with three breakout spaces and a kiln room), a better cafeteria and adjacent restrooms as well as a new library come 2021.

Updates on Hoover Elementary — which, like Lincoln, will be replaced — are on the way. As for Crescent Valley High School, which was originally scheduled for renovations this summer, Downum said plans have been pushed back to next summer.

“The Corvallis School District bond leadership team … has been meeting and discussing the risks of COVID-19 cost and schedule impacts on the bond program and how to manage those risks,” Downum said in a May news release. “This team is responsible for monitoring the district’s financial stewardship of the entire bond program and ensuring the district is able to complete all bond promises.”

For the full bond program’s management plan, visit tinyurl.com/CSDBondProgram.

Reporter Nia Tariq can be reached at nia.tariq@lee.net.

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