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With $66 million bond, we can make improvements to every district school and add enough new classrooms to meet anticipated growth

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Renee TooleyCrook County takes good care of its schools! Half of our schools could be eligible for historic status, and they are functional and educating another generation of Crook County kids.

But the truth is after some time, even the best-built buildings suffer from wear and tear. Roofs and windows start to leak. Electrical, plumbing, heating and ventilation systems wear out and break down.

And time changes priorities. Student and faculty health, safety and security are more concerning in these days. Rising energy costs require efficient HVAC systems that save both energy and dollars. Growth brings more traffic near schools and creates dangerous conditions.

Classrooms are more crowded and population studies suggest student enrollment will increase by more than 500 in the next 10 years. That's a whole new school! Building a new middle school, where most of the student growth is anticipated, is estimated to cost at least $55 million, based on recent construction in Central Oregon. That's a lot of money for one school!

Consider the proposed $66 million bond. With that we can make improvements to every school in the district AND add enough new classrooms to existing schools to meet anticipated growth. At least 14 classrooms and a cafeteria/multi-purpose space will be added to the Crook County Middle School. We will remove the modulars and add 10 classrooms at Powell Butte Community Charter School as well as address the traffic flow on a busy state highway. Classrooms will be added to Steins Pillar Elementary as well.

Crook County High School will see additional space for its growing CTE programs, including culinary and shop, and improvements to the performing arts spaces and athletic weight training facilities. Restrooms, bleachers and night lights will be added to the outdoor ball fields.

In Brothers, a cushioned sports surface will be installed over the concrete gym floor and the heat pump will be replaced. Paulina, which received a new gym and upgraded bathrooms and fire alarms in the 2012 bond, will have an improved playground and a paved ADA-compliant parking area. We can replace the leaking roofs and old boilers at several schools, add new locks and security systems and improve ADA accessibility across the district.

A community-based facilities committee studied the concerns, needs and wishes for each school building in the district. They came up with a list of what they felt were the most critical, based on input from architects, engineers, teachers and building maintenance personnel.

With this bond, we can catch up on maintenance, get the additional student capacity we need and make all our schools safer and more energy efficient for a long time to come. This work needs to be done sooner or later, and this is the best time to do it, before rising costs and interest rates make it more expensive. Most importantly – because of growth in the total assessed value of the county – cost to taxpayers will be only 10 cents per thousand added to the current bond that was approved in 2012, or about $20 per year on a home valued at $200,000. Crook County will still pay the lowest tax rates for school construction in Central Oregon!

I'm inviting you to join me and Together For Kids to support Measure 7-81 on the May ballot. If you have questions or want to help get the word out about the bond measure, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. More information about specific projects for each school building can be found at https://crookcountyschoolbond.org/


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