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School district's bond committee asks community to help prioritize potential athletic field projects and reveals other potential bond projects

For the last two months, Canby School District's bond development committee has been working to determine which school facilities projects should be included as part of a $75 million bond package that will likely go before voters in May or November.

Canby's property owners are currently paying on a 2001 school construction bond in the amount of $2.14 per $1,000 of assessed property value. If voters approve a new bond in May or November, that tax rate is not expected to increase.

On Tuesday, Feb. 11, the committee held a community meeting, led by Karina Ruiz of BRIC Architecture, to reveal what they've come up with and seek input on which projects should be added to the list with additional monies the district could receive in the form of a grant.

While Canby School District is not a high-priority district in terms of receiving state grant dollars, thanks to a recent lottery, the district has secured approximately $4.6 million from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program if the district is successful in passing a May bond.

These dollars would be in addition to the $75 million.

With those additional funds, the committee asked the community for help in prioritizing projects that didn't make the cut as part of the main $75 million bond package.

The potential projects were displayed on posters with envelopes throughout the Ackerman Center library. Everyone in the audience at the meeting received five "Cougar Bucks" to stick into the envelopes on potential projects they felt were worthwhile. They could spend all their bucks in one place or spread it out over multiple projects.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Community members attending the meeting on Feb. 11 were given five 'Cougar Bucks' and asked to use them to prioritize potential extra projects that could be completed with grant monies received if a May bond is passed.

The potential extra projects included: new turf infields at CHS for softball and baseball at a cost of $520,000, a new multipurpose turf athletic field at CHS at a cost of $890,000, drainage improvements to existing athletic fields at Baker Prairie at a cost of $550,000 (this project was intended to be completed with the previous bond, but funds ran out), and resurfacing the track at Ackerman Field for middle school use at a cost of $250,000.

Ruiz also described the core projects the committee decided should be completed within the $75 million bond. These include the following.

-Facility upgrades and safety/security improvements (Ruiz said these fall into the category of "warm, safe and dry"): safety and security, HVAC, interiors, exteriors, nutrition, roofing—$27.16 million

-Canby High School 200 wing replacement: demolition and replacement of the existing 200 wing, which includes science classrooms and lab spaces—$22.75 million

Ruiz said this project would require about a year to design and about 15 months for construction.

-Instructional technology improvements: classroom projectors, security cameras, projection and sound in gyms and other areas, building communications technology, replacement of student devices and more—$10.22 million

-LED lighting improvements: select school site upgrades of existing light fixtures to more efficient LED fixtures—$4 million

-Accessibility improvements district-wide: unisex restrooms at each school across district, changing room at Knight Elementary, better playground accessibility, ADA push button door operators, Ackerman gym elevator and corridor for locker room access—$2.28 million

It's noticeable that some of the improvements involve Ackerman Center, formerly a middle school facility that is now used lightly by the district for various purposes.

"What we're doing is we're making investments in this building (Ackerman Center) to allow the board the flexibility to open it should they choose to in the future," Ruiz said.

No decisions have yet been made concerning the future of Ackerman Center.

-Master planning: looking at elementary school replacement, middle school visioning, Canby High School comprehensive visioning and planning and maintenance building replacement study—$650,000

Ruiz pointed out that the committee deemed this master planning piece as important to prepare for the future of district buildings, including the high school, which has undergone several renovations.

"Canby High School has been added to over time," Ruiz said. "So, it is a result of kind-of putting Band-aids, if you will, in the places where it was most heavily bleeding."

She said the committee is interested in looking at the future of the high school more comprehensively and potentially seeing the 200-wing replacement become phase 1 of multiple phases, as opposed to replacing the school all at once.

"A new high school today costs you upwards of $150 million, which is crazy, but it's the reality," Ruiz said.

-Fire Safety: fire suppression doors at Knight Elementary, wiring Lee's suppression doors to main office lockdown system—$90,700

These core projects total about $67.15 million, and there is $7.5 million set aside for contingency and bond management.

PMG PHOTO: KRISTEN WOHLERS - Following a presentation, community members browsed the potential bond projects displayed on posters throughout Ackerman Center's library.

With the extra $4.6 million being dependent on passing a May bond, time is running out as the May filing deadline is Feb. 28. But Ruiz said the committee is on pace to make a recommendation to the board in time.

The next steps in the process, according to district spokesperson Autumn Foster, include one more bond development committee meeting at the district office on Tuesday, Feb. 18 from 4-6 p.m., after which the committee may make a recommendation to the board.

Then, she said there could be bond conversations at the next regular board meeting, which takes place at the high school's OMNI room on Thursday, Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m.

Finally, there is a board special session tentatively scheduled for Feb. 26 just in time for the Feb. 28 deadline.

Kristen Wohlers
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