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Latest cost estimate higher than initial figures

by: REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge currently hauls in temporary bleachers to accommodate visitors because not all fans fit in the permanent stadium seating.The Lakeridge High School stadium upgrade could cost more than first estimated, and the project is moving forward.

During a public hearing Monday, the Development Review Commission approved the Lake Oswego School District’s project application to add a roof to stave off the Oregon rain and to install more permanent seating.

The commission denied a request for sign variances, which are exceptions to sign code.

On Tuesday night, Stuart Ketzler, school district executive director of finance, updated the Lake Oswego School Board on the project’s progress, presenting details on the results of the public hearing and the latest cost estimate for the stadium improvements.

The commission’s decision on the sign variances was “disappointing, but that still doesn’t prevent us from doing the larger improvements for the stadium at Lakeridge High School,” Ketzler said, adding that staff was overall pleased with the results of the hearing.

The latest cost figure, $1.8 million, is a formal estimate from Rider Levett Bucknall, a global property and construction practice, and early cost estimates were lower.

“At this point I’m not terribly comfortable with that proposal,” school board chairwoman Patti Zebrowski said.

The estimate rose from an initial $1.25 million to $1.5 million in November, but the actual pricing will come clear when bids for the project roll in next week, Ketzler said.

The project will be paid for with the district’s construction excise tax revenue, which is usually set aside for capital improvements. There will be $750,000 in the CET fund next fiscal year, but there are other schools that need upgrades such as roof repairs, and Zebrowski said the fund probably won’t cover the stadium costs if the estimate holds true.

School board member Bob Barman said he knows several people in the community involved in the construction business who would be glad to help, and volunteer support, donated materials and fundraising could be key to supporting the project. Ketzler said that kind of support is worth exploring as the project progresses.

At the public hearing on the stadium project, the DRC — a seven-member citizen advisory group that reviews development applications for compliance with city land use and design regulations — unanimously was in favor of most of the project. The commission supported the district’s desire to build more permanent seating, allowing room for 2,200 people, 1,000 more than now. The district previously had asked the commission to allow seating for 1,200 more people.

The district currently uses temporary seating to accommodate spectators. The commission decided that for the application to be approved, there would have to be fewer temporary bleachers — 800 instead of 1,800. The district was allowed to submit previous traffic studies rather than doing another one, and the district had to update its parking plan for game attendees.

The school district will come up with a plan to address the concerns with the sign variances, such as that some of the signs were too big and the wrong type for the zone they’re in, Ketzler said. School district officials had said the signs aren’t where most people driving by will see them.

In other business at the school board meeting, the board discussed unblending mixed-grade classrooms but took no action and discussed a visit from Heather Beck, who will take over as school district superintendent when Bill Korach retires at the end of the fiscal year.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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