Some schools have higher maintenance estimates than building value

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Oak Creek Elementary Schools land value is $8.85 million,and its building value is $9.77 million. Estimated maintenance costs run about $3.75 million. Its land and building value is among the highest of all of the schools in the real estate study.At $9.77 million, Oak Creek is among the most valuable elementary school buildings in Lake Oswego School District with all the others built at least 11 years before the 1991 school, according to a recently released real estate study. But, Oak Creek’s estimated maintenance costs are the second highest of the schools in the study: $3.75 million.

The Lake Oswego School Board reviewed the findings from its requested real estate study at a meeting Monday. The multi-faceted study’s purpose includes helping the board determine which elementary school buildings to keep or sell and what building improvements are needed at the junior highs and primary schools. Three of the nine elementary schools were shuttered in the past couple years to save dollars.

“It is the most comprehensive study that we have undertaken in this particular domain, and it is a third party study,” said Bill Korach, school district superintendent. “We’ve done an analysis of our own facilities’ needs, but there’s a real value in having someone else look at your facilities’ needs and also the value of your properties.”

The building values ranged from $4.71 million for Palisades to $12.89 million for the Lakeridge Junior High-Bryant Elementary School campus. The total estimate for maintenance at the two junior highs and all elementary schools is $24.11 million. Required maintenance included: replacing leaky roofs, improving accessibility, replacing siding and upgrading plumbing, electrical and boiler systems.

In addition, the study revealed about how much it would cost to build a new, 53,000-square foot elementary school, $13.25 to $13.78 million; and how much it would cost to build a new gym at Lake Oswego Junior High, $2.07 million. The estimates offer a comparison to the value of existing structures, and construction of a new school is not planned any time soon. The cost estimate does not include the price of land.

Plus, the study showed the cost to add classrooms to the schools, $12.06 million for all the schools. The number of additional classes estimated is based on how much the school could potentially build out and still leave adequate room for parking, playgrounds and playing fields.

Lake Oswego-based BBL Architects handled the classroom additions, new gym, new school and maintenance estimates. Maintenance estimates were broken up by timeframe with priority one repairs or upgrades needed within one to five years and with priority two improvements not needed.

Integra Realty Resources Inc. (IRR) in Portland created estimated building and land values. There are few vacant lots in Lake Oswego, and large swaths of acreage are bought up quickly, said Owen Bartels, manager director with IRR-Portland.

In some cases, the land is worth more than the buildings and maintenance being almost as much as structure value.

“You’ve got to weigh the value of property relative to the cost of maintenance,” Korach said. “The value of (a building) might be much higher, but the cost of maintaining that building might be higher also.”

Three of the nine elementary schools, Palisades, Bryant and Uplands — closed to help bridge a budget gap in the past couple of years — and the schools could reopen, depending on the study. Bryant has been repurposed as part of Lakeridge Junior High, and junior high students use Bryant’s gym as do athletic groups. Lake Oswego Junior High physical education classes are held in the Uplands gym, which also is used to house robotics classes, LOJ state testing and athletic groups. Equipment is stored at Palisades, and athletic groups use it as well.

The board did not make a decision on which elementary schools to keep yet and could begin discussing that further this summer, creating a timeline for the coming school year. The results also may be presented during an upcoming gathering of the school advisory committees.

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