Lake Oswego School District officials continue to make progress on projects financed by the $187 million school bond passed by voters in May 2017.
District administrators in charge of the bond reported that progress to the School Board in late August, citing headway made in the design and construction of Lakeridge Junior High, the design of River Grove Elementary and Lake Oswego Junior High, and the design and construction of Uplands and Oak Creek elementary schools.
The district also provided updates for the community on Sept. 8 and Sept. 15 at Lakeridge Junior High, where forum attendees toured a model classroom similar to the ones that will fill the rebuilt school.
"Imagine a classroom with all of the furniture on castors, tables that can be raised to standing height or lowered for sitting, and stools that are rounded on the bottom so you can rock back and forth or around in circles like a hula hoop," said Lake Oswego resident Jan Castle. "Throw in table tops that can be flipped into a vertical position to serve as white boards, which can be rolled outside for projects in the science garden, and a whole wall painted as a green screen for videography, and you have a picture of the scene that greeted participants."
The district has been working with Mahlum Architects for months on the design of LJH, soliciting community and student input at each step.
"The district leadership clearly understands that today's students are tomorrow's civic and political leaders," said Lois Cohen, who is in charge of student and community engagement around the LJH project. "We want students to understand the tradeoffs, when you have limited resources but unlimited possibilities. It's such an incredibly complex process, and the students have a great grasp on that."
The top three goals identified by students, teachers and community members are creating a learner-centric environment that addresses the academic and emotional needs of each individual student; promoting equity through diverse learning spaces, accommodations for students with special needs and non-gendered restrooms; and creating a highly sustainable building using measures like reusing materials, stormwater management and taking advantage of natural light and ventilation.
Interim Superintendent Michael Musick has described Lakeridge Junior High as the district's flagship bond project. The new building is projected to encompass 140,000-150,000 gross square feet and house 1,000-1,100 students. The district's new pool will also be located on the LJH grounds.
At their Aug. 27 meeting, School Board members selected Skanska USA Building to provide construction management and general contracting services for the LJH project. The firm will be tasked with "looking at the design and how to make the delivery of the project as efficient as possible," according to Bond Program Manager Anthony Vandenberg.
"They'll bring a lot of information to the table for us," Vandenberg said.
The fee for that information will be 3.4 percent of the cost of construction, plus a fee for pre-construction services that is not to exceed $199,850.
At the same School Board meeting, board members also approved a design contract for River Grove Elementary and Lake Oswego Junior High — projects that will be completed in conjunction with each other. Oh Planning + Design was selected to execute architectural and engineering design services; that contract was approved by the board for $767,827.
"The scope of work for both schools is primarily deferred maintenance items that came to light as part of a 2015 facilities evaluation," said Senior Project Manager David Lageson. "Both of these schools are identified by the district as potentially being replaced, so it's a tricky balance of making the improvements that the students who currently use the facilities deserve, but not spending too much on something that could be replaced as soon as five or six years from now."
The final contract unanimously approved by the School Board was a construction management/general contracting proposal to renovate Oak Creek and Uplands. The construction fee is 6 percent of the cost of construction, and the fee for pre-construction services is not to exceed $59,445.
Musick expressed his gratitude that the district was able to secure all of the contracts, given the current volatility of the construction industry.
"I have been in the construction market either working on building schools or actually being a construction worker since I was 18. I have never seen it like this," he said. "These are unprecedented times. But our end goal is to make the most beautiful, functional and safe schools that we possibly can have for our students."
He also told board members that their input will be crucial as the work on bond projects moves forward.
"As we continue down the process of the $187 million, these sessions are going to be critical for my team," he said, "not only to receive direction but for the messaging around what should be the priority. We've got lots of decisions to make within the context of our work."
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