Bond plans change in some areas

by: SUSAN MATHENY - Workers install the metal framing for the entryway for the Madras Performing Arts Center, which will be accessed off Buff Street when it's completed this fall.Buildings have been taking shape surprisingly fast since the 509-J School District broke ground on two major construction projects the summer of 2013.

The district passed a $26.7 million bond levy in May 2012 to build the Warm Springs K-8 Academy in Warm Springs, a combined performing arts center and sports complex on the Madras High School campus, along with numerous upgrades at Madras area schools buildings.

District Director of Operations Darryl Smith recently gave an update on construction, and some of the changes that have occurred to the original plans.


Most notably, was the decision not to fix up the Westside building. It is currently being used by the Kids Club of Jefferson County, for the storage of Jefferson County Museum artifacts, and by other tenants.

“Initially, the county was looking at purchasing the building as part of its plan to relocate the courthouse. But now they’ve found other funding and don’t need it,” Smith said, commenting on the state’s approval of matching funds to build a new courthouse.

The bond levy plans had listed some $500,000 worth of projects at Westside, including reroofing of the annex, replacing asbestos floor tiles, installing fire sprinklers, a card lock system, and a new gym floor, upgrading lighting and adding insulation. But last summer, 509-J decided not to do anything to the building.

“The district eventually will not need that facility, so we didn’t want to put a lot of money into it,” Smith explained. He said they would like to find another organization that would like to have the facility.

“A public entity, like the city or county, is eligible for Community Development Block Grant funds, which could be used to make upgrades for the Historical Society and a community center,” Smith said.

“We will have a lot of unused space at Jefferson County Middle School (when the Warm Springs school opens) and it doesn’t make sense to throw money at Westside,” he said.

The funds that were budgeted for Westside will go to other needs. “There are a lot of other things we could do at other schools, that have higher priority than Westside,” he noted, but added, “In May, we may revisit it, now that the county’s not going to buy Westside, and see if we need to fix some things.”

Performing Arts Center

The Madras Performing Arts Center, slated originally to have 600 seats, is being built with 575.

“The 600 seats would have meant narrower seats, and we wanted people to be comfortable,” Smith said.

He said the auditorium will have, “full complement lighting and a high-quality sound system. It will have the option of the teacher using an iPad to operate the lighting instead of yelling to someone to change it.”

Madras High School

Smith noted that card lock systems, where staff ID cards work as keys, have been installed in all district schools.

The new track has been paved, and goal posts and a new scoreboard are up on the football field. The announcer’s sound system is built into the scoreboard. Smith said someone is interested in applying an extra surface on the track, which would bring it from a 300-level to a top-quality 1,000-level surface.

by: SUSAN MATHENY - The new scoreboard on the partially completed Madras High School track and football field has a built-in speaker system. That track has been paved, but may be getting an upgraded surface. The premanufactured football stadium, with aluminum bleachers, will arrive and be installed in June. Soccer bleachers and a scoreboard will go in this spring, and work will begin on resurfacing the tennis courts when this year’s tennis season ends.

Several projects planned for MHS were found to not be needed. An engineer decided the gym area HVAC system did not need to be upgraded; instead of building a hub closet for computer servers and networking, the MHS snack bar area was converted for that purpose, and the snack bar moved closer to the commons.

The need to angle the football field and location of the PAC building resulted in the football practice field not being used, so a new practice field was not needed; and the access road to the baseball fields was not needed due to a school bus road built to route buses on the backside of MHS property to Madras Primary, which reduces bus traffic on city streets.

Jefferson County Middle School

The track has been resurfaced, the old MHS scoreboard was installed on the field, and the athletic storage building is going up now. Carpet will be removed and tile installed next summer, as well as the repair of parking lot asphalt.

It was decided acoustic panels would not be needed in the commons in light of the PAC being built.

Buff Intermediate

Parking lot, reroofing, and sidewalk work will all be done this summer.

Metolius Elementary

This summer, work will begin on the HVAC system, parking lot replacement, ADA access, upgrade of electrical panels, and the addition of insulation and fire sprinklers.

“Windows will be replaced the following summer. There is a lot of single-pane glass and it will provide an energy savings,” Smith said.

Madras Primary

Last summer, the parking lot was redone, asphalt removed and a new playground put in, and an ADA ramp to the cafeteria was built.

Lighting upgrades, and the replacing of old glass block windows will be done the summer of 2015.


In the maintenance and bus barn area, asphalt has been repaired, and an area has been created to capture wastewater from the bus washing station. The district is working with the city on managing storm water that runs down Buff Street, and a catch-pond will be built near the McTaggart Road intersection this summer.

Warm Springs K-8 Academy

The 80,000-square-foot Warm Springs K-8 Academy is progressing on schedule.

“It’s pretty amazing. They’ve painted the inside of two classroom wings, it’s almost all framed in, and the gym is up with 90 percent of the roof on,” Smith said.

“We expect to have substantial completion by the third week in July, and have it ready for kids to start school in the fall,” he said.

An open house is being planned for April 11, for the pubic to tour the building.

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