A grant from Business Oregon makes the earthquake-related construction possible

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Business Oregon granted the school district $1 million to make the Crook County Middle School gymnasium more earthquake resistant. Construction will begin next month.

The Crook County Middle School gymnasium will be more earthquake resistant after a $1 million upgrade this summer.

The state awarded a record $50.3 million in grants a year ago to conduct seismic safety upgrades on 41 Oregon schools.

CCMS is eligible for $1,003,120 of that.

The school district awarded Prineville-based Griffin Construction the job — the only contractor to put in a bid — and they plan to begin work June 12, the first week of summer vacation.

According to Leland Bliss, the school district facilities and safety director, Griffin Construction will install new anchors that prevent the gym roof from separating from the wall, replace areas of glass block with CMU (concrete masonry unit) block, and anchor the exterior canopies above exit doors.

Bliss said this work was necessary to keep the gym roof and wall intact, eliminate the danger of falling glass blocks, and keep the canopies above the exterior doors in place in the event of an earthquake.

The project should be completed before Sept. 1.

Most recently, Griffin Construction was in charge of the Ward Rhoden Stadium repairs as well as the construction of the gymnasium at Paulina School.

Bliss estimates the total cost of the CCMS seismic upgrade to be close to the amount of the $1 million reimbursement grant.

Anna Logan, the district's director of business and finance, explained that with a reimbursement grant, the recipient spends the money first and then periodically requests reimbursements. If the total project does not cost as much as estimated, the district will only receive the total amount spent.

"The district is not required to contribute any matching funds," Logan pointed out.

A 2007 survey conducted by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries listed more than 1,000 school buildings in Oregon at high or very high risk of collapse in a major earthquake.

In 2016, Business Oregon's Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Committee received 107 applications and selected CCMS as one of the 41 grant recipients.

Business Oregon, the state's economic development agency, oversees the program to rehab schools and other critical public buildings so they will be better prepared to withstand a major earthquake. This plan to keep schools and emergency buildings safe was championed by Senate President Peter Courtney.

The Oregon Legislature allocated $175 million in funding for schools to the program for the 2015-17 biennium. CCMS received a portion of the $50 million from the first phase of that funding. The next phase for the remaining $125 million was announced in April.

Business Oregon also recently awarded the City of Prineville Police Department with $1,249,260 in grant money for seismic upgrades to the police station.

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