Superintendent forsees a strong start to the school year
The Lake Oswego School District's board met Tuesday night to discuss recent developments in the district, including construction at Lakeridge Middle School and an update from the superintendent.
Tony Vandenberg, LOSD's executive director of project management, informed the school board that the excavation of the ground at Lakeridge Middle School was more complicated — and costly — than anticipated. The site contained dozens of underground boulders, which have now been removed by Skanska USA Building Inc., the construction company hired by the school board in March.
Design and construction of the Lakeridge Middle School is funded by the $187 million school bond passed by voters in May 2017. The estimated cost of the school is $68.2 million, and it is expected to be completed in summer 2020. At Tuesday's board meeting, Vandenberg sought board approval to pay Skanska an additional $672,400 for the additional cost caused by the soil conditions.
Vandenberg told the board that they commissioned a geotechnical report prior to breaking ground, and anticipated encountering plenty of boulders. "We knew we were going to encounter boulders but we didn't know how many," he said. "We encountered more than we thought."
Vandenberg said that he and other district bond staff had put away about $800,000 "just to get out of the ground" at Lakeridge Middle School. "This is within the contingency we had set aside," he said. The use of the money, however, required the approval of the school board; members voted unanimously to approve the expenditure.
Superintendent Dr. Lora de la Cruz provided the board with an update on her first month in the district, saying she has moved into "phase two" of her entry plan. "I'm continuing to engage with stakeholders," de la Cruz said. "I'm also leaning into some areas that have surfaced. I'm excited to be rolling up my sleeves and digging in."
She said she has sent a survey to members of all school board-appointed committees to continue to identify what areas need work, as well as where they are successful.
De la Cruz said her focus for the district this year is "celebrating what's right, and looking toward what's possible."
She also told the board about a Confederation of Oregon School Administrators (COSA) conference she and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jenn Schiele attended that was centered around the work of Brene Brown, an author and research professor who studies courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. The conference was specifically focused on her book "Dare to Lead."
"We are agreeing to come together and share concepts in the book," de la Cruz told school board members. "Every administrator has a copy of that book, and I have given a copy to each of you as well."
De la Cruz said she is happy to be leading the Lake Oswego School District. "Overall, I'd say it's been an excellent few weeks," she said.
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