Lake Oswego School Board approves loan for new Lakeridge baseball field
Lakeridge High School will receive a new artificial turf field, thanks to a loan from the Lake Oswego School District to the Pacer Baseball Booster Club.
During the Tuesday, Sept. 27, meeting, the Lake Oswego School Board approved a $500,000 loan to the booster club to help the district complete the field by February 2023 — when the baseball season begins.
In 2018, the school district assembled the board-approved athletic facilities task force to prioritize the completion of athletic projects. One of the district's "highest priority" projects was completing an artificial turf-lined field at Lakeridge High School. Currently, the students play on a dirt field.
The task force began working with FieldTurfUSA to complete the project. But the Tualatin-based company priced the district's field at $1.7 million, which exceeded the budget by $500,000.
Stuart Ketzler, executive director of business management for the district, proposed that the board make a one-time adjustment to a policy pertaining to district facilities.
Lakeridge Principal Desiree Fisher, baseball coach Ray Pearson and a representative from the Baseball Parent Organization, Kevin King, came before the board at the Sept. 27 meeting to pitch why the school needed a new field and what the approval of the loan could mean to the Pacer team.
"We, as boosters, would like to pay the remaining amount in the five years … we know we are asking for a modification to the current policy for this one-time project, but we do feel that its value deserves some modification and currently we are one of the last two Three Rivers League baseball teams without turf," King said.
The booster club highlighted some disadvantages the team faces, like having nowhere to practice when it rains.
"We just want to let you know that we take this loan very seriously, and we as parents and student-athletes are committed to pay back the district over the next five years," King said.
The board approved. The Pacer baseball booster club will repay the loan over the next five years. Work for the new field will begin this fall and tentatively finish early 2023.
Bond project OK'd
The board also approved a $2.6 million contract for Lakeridge High School's outdoor career technical education classroom renovations.
The Portland-based contracting company 2KG Contractors Inc. will finish the remaining renovations for the CTE classrooms by the end of the current school year. Some of the changes are adding new technology and redesigning the workstations.
"We are going to be building during the school year, so it's going to be a little bit of change in what we're used to around here," said Tony Vandenberg, the executive director of project management for the school district.
The district typically works on bond projects when students are not in school, like during summer break, or they move students to another facility while they complete renovations. Water will be shut off at the school during winter break.
The district is still moving forward with a new transportation center that would house school buses. Staff has completed the planning application, which was expected to be submitted for review to the city of Lake Oswego during the first week of October.
Currently, the building is nestled behind Lake Grove Elementary School, but the site is not large enough to accommodate the personal vehicles of the bus drivers.
Lakeridge Middle School's new multipurpose field also was approved Sept. 19 by Lake Oswego's Development Review Commission. According to Schiele, the project will begin the bidding process sometime this fall.
The district also continues its design phase for Lake Oswego Middle School. Schiele said the team is "really getting into the details," and staff members have had the opportunity to share their needs in the school. The district also is in the preparation stage of setting up portable classrooms outside of Uplands Elementary School for when the renovations start at LOMS.
AP testing scores
Schiele presented findings from the Advanced Placement testing scores captured from the 2021-22 academic year. The scores are among the data points that the district will collect and present to the board throughout the rest of the school year. The data is meant to help the district and board understand the student body more comprehensively.
"This is going to be an ongoing delivery of information and something delivered to the school board every month, and if there is something we are not (collecting) that you'd want to see, we'll make sure to get that," Schiele said.
The presentation highlighted scores from ninth to 12th graders and collected data from students who identify as female, male and nonbinary. Data also presented how many students in different demographic groups took the test, like students of various races and those with Individual Education Plans.
During the 2021-22 academic year, students outperformed prior years in Advanced Placement testing. Six-hundred and eighty-four students received a 3 or higher in their AP testing, compared to the year before when only 589 did. In 2019-20, 678 students scored 3 or higher.
"For the most part we are getting back on track from COVID," said the Lou Bailey, executive director of secondary programs.
Harmony Academy gets buses
The board approved a proposal from Harmony Academy, a Lake Oswego charter school that caters to students recovering from substance use disorders, to add transportation services for some students.
Students at Harmony Academy come from various neighborhoods in the Portland metro area, some hailing from as far away as Vancouver, Washington.
Ketzler said Harmony Academy has requested bus services as it would help the school attract and keep students, since some cannot attend the school without reliable transportation.
The agreement grants permission to the district clerk and deputy clerk to execute an amendment with Harmony Academy to allow them to use district funding to assign two drivers and buses to the school. Harmony will reimburse the district 30% of the total cost.
Doerr book approved
The board approved the book "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr to be read in 10th grade language arts class starting this school year.
LaKeyshua Washington, the district's executive director of curriculum and instruction, proposed the book as part of the "secondary pilot novels project." The book tells the story of five characters whose lives span different periods. Through these characters, the author explores ideas such as environment, war, immigration, sexual orientation, religion and the treatment of women.
The Sept. 27 meeting was held at Palisades World Language School. As they heard from Principal Lilian Sarlos and students, the district also kicked off Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month — which takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Hispanic students comprise 8% of the Lake Oswego school district population.
This year's theme for the celebration month is "Esperanza: a celebration of Hispanic heritage and hope." The month invites people to honor and reflect on the achievements of Hispanic and Latino people. It encourages the school district to infuse instructional learning activities throughout the month and the rest of the academic year.
The board also celebrated the start of Dyslexia Awareness Month. The awareness month aims to address neurological differences and inclusive practices that ensure all students are proficient in literacy despite their differences. About 43.5 million children and adults across the United States have dyslexia.
The board will next meet at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.