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Roofing expenses and student capacity issues top of the list for Crook County schools

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Roofing and building capacity are two costly issues that the Crook County School District Long Range Facilities Planning Committee has been looking into.

Roofing and building capacity are two costly issues that the Crook County School District Long Range Facilities Planning Committee has been looking into since it formed last fall.

"The CCSD has done a good job providing for the long-term maintenance of the schools; however, there are several large-ticket items that will need to be addressed prior to the potential of a new bond issue being sent to the voters in approximately 2027," wrote committee chair and school board member Doug Smith in a report to the board.

"It is likely that the construction needs will exceed what is available from the general fund. It will be up to the board to decide what from the committee's findings are acted on and when," he said.

The Long Range Facilities Planning Committee is comprised of nine school district officials and Prineville City Manager Steve Forrester, who was a local mill manager, and Jeff Papke, who has experience as an agriculture instructor and is a Career and Technical Education leader in Crook County at and Mountain View High School.

The committee is not charged with creating an in-depth review of facilities. Rather, members provide guidance to the board on capacity, maintenance and future needs created by expansion of the CTE offering.

The committee first met in early December to review regular maintenance and to view the items on the horizon that will not be fundable through the general fund.

Roofing on school facilities is a top issue facing the district.

It is estimated that replacing most of the Crook County Middle School roof could run as high as $1.6 million. Roofing at Crooked River Elementary will likely reach its life expectancy during the next 10 years and will also be a substantial expenditure for the district, Smith reported.

Repair work was completed on the Pioneer Complex as part of the 2013 bond, but it did not include roofing replacement. Smith said Crook County High School's 22-year-old metal roof should last 50 years with maintenance.

"We want to ensure that we get 50 years," he noted.

District Facilities and Safety Manager Leland Bliss received a no-cost review from a roofing consultant of the roofing needs last Friday, and they reported that Crooked River Elementary, CCMS and Paulina are in need of repairs and replacements relatively soon.

"They suggested some timelines for us to review repairs and replacements on the remaining buildings," Bliss said.

Student capacity is the second big-ticket item that the committee is addressing, especially at the elementary schools.

Smith said a plan must be in place should the state require smaller class sizes.

Barnes Butte and Crooked River elementary schools are currently at or very near capacity, and every classroom is occupied.

Taxpayers may wonder why the new and newly remodeled elementary school buildings are already full.

"One of the things you look at in bond projects and construction projects is you don't always take the current taxpayer's money and pay for the next generation's service," explained CCSD Superintendent Sara Johnson. "You try to meet the needs of the students that you have. You don't overbuild."

The committee reported that the district could get some short-term relief by remodeling Pioneer North, the building that faces Third Street and most recently housed Crooked River Elementary intermediate students. It has 11 classrooms, and there are four modular classrooms on the property.

This project would take approximately one year to accomplish, and costs will likely be less than $2 million, based on the recent remodel at Pioneer South in 2016.

Bliss reported that repair work and painting to the exterior of the Pioneer North building is underway and should be completed by the end of June. It will match the paint on the Pioneer South building. This was budgeted in the 2018-19 budget.

Long-term planning for a bond issue will need to include the capability to expand elementary capacity, the committee reported. Ideas floated include construction in Powell Butte and Juniper Canyon for elementary space.

"The feeling of the committee is that BBE and CRE are both scaled at maximum size for efficient operation. Simply adding more classrooms to these schools is not a suggested growth model," Smith said.

The committee also reviewed the capacity at CCMS, which is 800 students, and CCHS, 1,200 students.

"The committee has asked that the district staff review these based on comments from school staff that despite being substantially below these capacity numbers, we are using 'every classroom,'" Smith reported.

Aside from the roofing and capacity issues, Bliss said there are several items that require a more detailed assessment that they will look into very soon.

One is the school district office. The contract with High Desert Education Service District will reach the end of the most recent renewal period in 2020. The current rent is $65,000 per year. Space is somewhat limited to current staff.

The district maintenance shop is also in need of repairs.

The building that houses the middle school was built in 1952, and the science and shop wings were added in 1972. The roofing expense and an old boiler system are two factors to consider when deciding to replace or remodel the building.

Ward Rhoden Stadium, which was built in 1980 and repaired in 2015, will also need some upgrades, such as awnings over doors, covering of the west-facing wall, and repaving behind the building.

The committee's March 20 meeting will focus on CTE needs and possible expansions.

Smith said the District Long Range Facilities Planning Committee will finalize a report to the board later this month.

"The hope is we can complete an outline of needs to the board by their April meeting so some of the needs can be addressed in the next budget," he said.

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