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A decision is expected within a week on which firm will be contracted for the projects paid for by bond

PMG FILE PHOTO - A $141 million bond approved by voters in November will pay for, among other things, construction of a new Dundee Elementary School. With the construction bond passed and plans moving forward for renovations and other construction projects in Newberg and Dundee, the Newberg School District is in the process of selecting a firm to lead the way for the work to come.

Seven companies submitted proposals and the district will narrow that group to a number of finalists, from which a team of administrators will decide which construction firm will receive the contract.

"With a bond that has this many projects, it's a long, long road," district spokesman Gregg Koskela said. "We are nearing the point of one of the most crucial pieces and that is selecting the lead architectural firm.

That firm will work on design, landscaping, construction, community input and other matters, Koskela said, "that will make sure the facilities are the best they can be for our students."

Koskela said the district held online question-and-answer sessions with companies.

"We ended up with seven companies that made a proposal – some of the best organizations in the Northwest with lots of experience building and renovating schools all over Oregon and Washington," Koskela said. "We're really excited that we have so many good potential partners."

A decision on the firm the school district will move forward with is expected by Friday, Jan. 15, or soon after. Further online presentations are expected from the finalists, with the team reviewing proposals including Superintendent Joe Morelock, Finance Director Nikki Fowler, Director of Teaching Derek Brown and Koskela, among others.

The importance of who the district picks can't be understated, Koskela said.

"More and more, people are recognizing just how much facilities impact education," he said. "What we want to do is build buildings that are going to be ready for the future, so that we can have facilities that match our high-quality staff well into the next few decades."

A scoring system is in place for the proposals and whoever has the best score is likely to be chosen, Koskela said.

"Equity is a key piece for us on this," Koskela said. "We want to make sure the organizations we work with have a long track record of gathering input from different communities and shaping that into spaces and buildings that make everyone feel at home."

Newberg and Dundee voters approved the $141 million construction bond in November. The bond will make significant improvements to schools like Edwards Elementary, construct a new Dundee Elementary School and add to Newberg High School's offerings in career and technical education, among other projects.

Voters approved the bond with 10,119 votes in favor and 8,317 votes against.


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