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The move allows the district to bypass bidding requirements to accelerate the hiring process for contractors.

COURTESY PHOTO: FOREST GROVE SCHOOL DISTRICT - Forest Grove School District officials still aren't sure if the high school science wing will be ready for the new school year.The Forest Grove School District board of directors voted unanimously to approve a declaration of emergency over water damage to the high school science wing at its meeting Monday, Aug. 8.

The move allows the district to bypass competitive bidding requirements written into state law in order to accelerate the hiring process for contractors needed to prepare classrooms for the new school year, which starts for high school students Sept. 6.

"With significant flooding and water damage and limited time that we have before school starts, our hope is to be able to enter into agreements with contractors to be able to get this completed before school starts," finance director Ilean Clute told the school board. "We want to make sure it has the least amount of impact to students and staff in the building."

Forest Grove School District spokesperson David Warner described the incident, which took place in July, as an act of vandalism in which somebody accessed the building and left an emergency shower running for at least 24 hours, causing extensive water damage in seven classrooms until a neighbor walked by, noticed the rushing water and alerted authorities.

Forest Grove Police Department spokesperson Andrew Colasurdo said there is not an active police investigation into the incident, and he indicated that the culprits are juveniles.

"Due to the age of the involved individuals, the police involvement was minimal," Colasurdo said.

Earlier this month, the school board approved emergency public contracts with contractors ServPro and BuildSkape to stop water damager from spreading, dry the area and equipment, help determine what is salvageable, and begin initial repairs to the classrooms for an estimated cost of as much as $200,000 each.

Clute said the damage is covered by insurance, leaving the district only to cover a $10,000 deductible.

Superintendent David Parker said the contractors both tested the classrooms to ensure they have properly dried, but it's still unclear if the classrooms will be operational by the start of the school year.

"It's moving quite quickly. We don't know yet if we're going to be ready for school. We haven't heard that we won't be. There's still a lot of things that have to fall into place. I was really surprised today just how far they've already," Parker told the board.

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