In May 2018, voters approved a bond to fund improvements all across the school district. Through market premiums, earnings on bond proceeds, grants and reimbursements, the total approved bond program has grown from the original, or base bond amount of $619.7 million, to $667.7 million without adding costs for the taxpayer.
The district-wide focus of bond work is to relieve overcrowding, improve safety and security, add science labs and expand our career and technical (vocational) education program spaces at our secondary schools. Bond work also focuses on protecting the community’s investment in school facilities.
Five schools began construction in 2019. These schools included Gubser Elementary School, Judson Middle School, Waldo Middle School, McNary High School and North Salem High School.
Gubser completed construction on time and on budget over the summer. The school was ready to serve students and staff when they returned in the fall. The renovations are already making a difference.
Gubser was originally built without a cafeteria and used a small classroom as a makeshift lunchroom. Other students had to eat in the instructional space outside of classrooms known as “pods.” The new cafeteria addressed this issue, and students no longer need to eat in the pods. They can enjoy their meals together in one lunchroom. Teachers and custodians also spend less time cleaning up the instructional spaces and can spend more time focusing on students.
The new classroom addition brought students out of the portables and into the school. Students now have more adequate instructional space and no longer walk outside to get to their classrooms. The three new classrooms also help Gubser prepare for future enrollment growth.
North Salem, McNary, Judson and Waldo are currently under construction and are on track to be completed by fall 2020. Each of the four schools will hold ribbon-cutting ceremonies to celebrate their completions next fall.
The district is already gearing up for construction at 16 more schools, planned to start work in 2020. Ten of the 16 schools will receive major construction, which includes adding or expanding space to address issues of overcrowding, prepare for future enrollment growth and more. The other six schools will receive upgrades to increase safety and security and additional improvements to protect the community’s investment in school facilities.
Next year will be full of groundbreaking events and ribbon-cutting ceremonies to celebrate the start and completion of bond-funded construction projects!
The 16 school projects planned in 2020 are expected to start between March and June next year. Some of these projects will be completed over the summer, and some will continue construction into the 2020-21 school year.
Many schools under construction will be closed during the summer, and it’s likely that their school offices will be relocated. Summer office location details will be available as the dates approach.
Follow each school’s construction progress by visiting their photo galleries. Galleries will become available and photos will be added as construction begins at each site. Bond project information and construction photo galleries can be found on the district website. Photo albums are also available on the district’s Facebook page.
Thank you, voters, for supporting our students. The improvements planned for our schools will help support student achievement and provide safer, more productive learning environments!