558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
School board seeking input on bond plan
The public is being encouraged to weigh in on potential building sites for a new school, and help formulate the best decisions for the upcoming bond measure
February 18, 2013
For community members who have been waiting to weigh in on the potential new elementary school on the May ballot, the chance is just around the corner.
Thursday evening, the Crook County School Board will elicit public input on three possible building sites, listen to concerns, and provide the first look at what a potential school might look like if plotted on one of the building sites — using a Bend School footprint for reference.
“The intent of this meeting is that we will go through and rank three sites,” said Crook County School Board Member Doug Smith. “We want to hear what the people have to say.”
He said that the three sites include property in IronHorse off of Laughlin Road, the old Ochoco Lumber property, and the existing property off of Barnes Butte Road that the school district currently owns. Smith said that the challenges that they have faced in narrowing the selection down has come down to finding property that is large enough to accommodate an elementary school the size they are proposing, and one that allows for the infrastructure and roads necessary to complete the project.
The cost for infrastructure for the three pieces of property is approximately the same, since each has its own set of challenges. For example, access for the property off of Barnes Butte is limited, and the existing county road is narrow, with little right-of-way room, and not set up well for students who are walking on Barnes Butte Road.
“We have to build a more efficient, more modern 600-700-student elementary in order to make our district more efficient. That is what we are trying to do,” said Smith.
In addition to the new proposed elementary school, the bond measure would also include upgrades to the other existing facilities in the district, including Paulina and Powell Butte elementaries. The meeting on Thursday will mainly address the potential locations and questions regarding the new school, should the bond measure be passed by voters.
In addition to a new school, the goal of the bond is to renovate the buildings and facilities to protect the integrity of them for at least 15 years, including electrical demands put on the buildings, mechanical and heating systems, as well as roofing replacement.
“It includes things that are at the end of their life,” said Smith.
The Political Action Committee for marketing the bond measure was also launched earlier last week. Donna Mohan, treasurer for the committee, said that they will immediately begin marketing and advertising for the bond measure, which is officially 7-61 on the May ballot.
“We are also going to be basically talking to as many people as we can, and letting them know the conditions of schools, and why we are out there, pushing for this bond measure — and the repairs that need to be made,” said Mohan.
She added that they will be speaking to as many different groups to answer as many questions as possible.
“We want to dispel myths and rumors, and let people know what is happening,”
In addition to property, the facilities committee has been touring several Central Oregon Schools with a variety of building footprints that include the design and educational model that the district is looking at, which is referred to as “learning communities.”
BLRB Architects, whom conducted the facilities condition assessment for Crook County School District, will also be on hand at the Thursday meeting. Smith emphasized that although they conducted the assessment, the final decision on an architect will be put out for bid, should the bond be passed in May.
“Educational delivery models vary from district to district and, of course, change over time, but what is important is to design a school to meet the needs of the district on how it wants to educate their children,” added Mike Gorman, Senior Associate and Branch Director of BLRB Architects of Bend. “That is always the challenge.”
Smith said that the community’s input will weigh heavily on the final decision of a site location for a potential school.
“What we have wanted to do all along is to listen to people and help them formulate a good decision of what is best for our community. Hopefully we achieve that.”
There will be an executive session from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Crook County School District Office, Feb. 21. Following the executive session, the public meeting will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. There will be a board work session following, which is also open to the public.
For more information on these meetings, call 541-447-5664.