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District would make repairs and as part of the overhaul will send sixth graders to middle school

COURTESY PHOTO: CENTENNIAL MIDDLE SCHOOL - Another repair the Centennial district wants to make to its facilities. The Centennial School District is planning on bringing a bond to voters of about $60 million and will reconfigure its middle schools.

"Our kids do deserve it," Paul Coakley, Centennial superintendent said of the proposed school improvements a bond would buy.

The district is considering moving sixth-graders from elementary schools into middle school and changing Oliver Elementary School back to a middle school, according to a report delivered to the Centennial School Board Wednesday, Dec. 11, by a facilities committee.

The bulk of the proposed bond funds, about $37.5 million, would be used to repair Centennial's aging buildings. Roofs would be replaced, unsafe carpet swapped for new and plumbing and electrical systems would be repaired.

COURTESY PHOTO: CENTENNIAL MIDDLE SCHOOL - Centennial School District likely will put a bond on the May 2020 ballot to tackle more than $37 million in repairs to its aging buildings. The bond would also add gyms to four elementary schools that do not have them at a cost of about $17 million. These schools —Meadows, Patrick Lynch, Powell Butte and Parklane — struggle to meet physical education requirements mandated by the state since their multipurpose rooms are used for lunch and other activities.

Converting Oliver back to a middle school and making changes to accommodate sixth-graders in both buildings would cost around $8 million.

The facilities report said moving the sixth-graders would be a better alingnment with curriculum and improve the ability to build relationships since the middle school students will spend three years in middle school. It will also even out crowding across the district.

About $2.8 million of the bond would be used to make safety and security upgrades to all the schools in the Centennial district.

The proposed bond, which will likely go on the May 2020 ballot, will replace one that is expiring so there will be no property tax increase associated with the bond.

Centennial Middle School is projected to have 960 students in 32 classrooms. Oliver Middle School is estimated to have 480 students and 16 classrooms.

A 35-member facilities committee spent over a year evaluating the condition and repair needs for every school. They came up with a list of repairs that totaled about twice as much money as the proposed bond, but they had to whittle down the list to the most urgent situations to get a sum they felt voters would approve.

"We wish we could go for more, but that is the consensus of the committee," said school board and facilities committee member Ronald "Jess" Hardin.

Coakley said "we need to show them (voters) that we are doing as much as we can with what has been given us."

Centennial has not had much luck in passing a bond. In 2016 the community voted down a $85 million bond to build a new middle school, add five multipurpose rooms to elementary schools and repair and upgrade aging buildings.

The Centennial School Board will consider the proposal and must vote on adding a bond to the ballot.

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