South Salem High School recently celebrated the completion of major expansions and improvements funded by the 2018 bond.

Most of the bond investment at South is hard to miss; the north side of the campus has changed dramatically, and now includes a two-story classroom addition, a 900-plus seat auditorium and performing arts center, expanded career and technical (vocational) education program spaces for culinary and sports medicine, additional parking and much more.

South Salem High School native plants

Native plants in newly landscaped areas

The landscaping around the new construction at South is another product of the bond work that is less obvious, but has special meaning. Thanks to an agreement between the district and Oregon State Historic Preservation Office, and input from the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, native plants have been included in the newly landscaped areas.

Examples of native plants in the new landscaping include Pacific Madrone, Common Camas, Native Hazel, Oregon White Oak, Kinnikinnick and others. A sign displaying plants’ names, locations in the landscape, and descriptions of how the plants were used by native people will be installed in the landscaped area.

The landscaping project is an example of the historic preservation efforts that were woven into the plans for South Salem High School bond work. To accommodate the additional spaces on campus and increase seismic safety, the district had to remove the old Leslie Junior High School building, which was considered a historic resource in the community.

South Salem High School native plants

New educational resources

To offset the loss of the resource, the district is creating new educational resources that will share the history of the area. The native plantings are one part of this effort. Other planned historic preservation projects include:

  • Incorporating gym flooring salvaged from the original Leslie Junior High School into the paneling in the new Rose Auditorium
  • Creating new curriculum that educates about historic preservation and local history
  • Building an on-site display that will educate about the history of Leslie Junior High School and the area
  • Filming a short documentary of the original Leslie Junior High School

“We are working to present a broad history of this area that ranges from the first peoples to the building of Leslie Junior High School to modern-day,” said Chief Operations Officer Mike Wolfe. “To do that right, the district is collaborating with organizations that have an interest in preserving local history, and input from The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde is certainly important to the work.”

More information

See more information about the bond work at South Salem High School.