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Revitalizing Lake Oswego's aging school buildings

School board addresses potential repairs and upgrades for district buildings


by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - A preliminary list of potential projects includes an overhaul of the school district swimming pool for $170,000, including resurfacing the pool deck, installing new lifeguard stands and starting blocks and replacing broken tiles around the pools perimeter. Pool manager Natasha Payne points to repair issues.Lake Oswego School District Superintendent Bill Korach said the school board has set its priorities correctly the past couple of years amid a recession and a fight to close budget gaps — keeping as many teachers as possible and keeping class sizes down.

With a recent uptick in state funding for public schools, the board soon could turn to some of the deferred building repairs and upgrades, Korach said during a Monday evening school board meeting. However, finding the funds may not be easy, he added.

“I didn’t say it wouldn’t be a challenge, but we’ve done it before, and we can do it again,” Korach said.

During the spring budget season, the board reviews a list of capital improvement projects, many of which are done during the summer while students are away. On Monday, the board studied a preliminary list of potential summer capital improvement projects that totaled $650,000 for top priority items and $26 million for all projects identified so far, many of which are not immediate but are “important to the community, so they are listed,” Finance Director Stuart Ketzler said.

Reviewing the list spurred discussion about going out for a bond to fund some improvements, possibly as soon as next year, Korach said.

“I do believe we’ll have to pass a bond,” he said. “You’ve got facilities you just have not put money into for a long time.”

Meanwhile, the preliminary list of potential projects includes new football field lights at Lake Oswego High School for an estimated $250,000 and an overhaul of the school district swimming pool for $170,000, including resurfacing the pool deck, installing new lifeguard stands and starting blocks and replacing broken tiles around the pool’s perimeter.

The LOHS football field does not meet national standards for lighting for a high school field and not even for a practice field, Ketzler said.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - The concrete surface is broken in a few areas around the pool.

The pool, on the LOHS campus, was built in 1970, and Facility Operations Director Rob Dreier said the lifeguard stands probably are original to the building.

“The starting blocks are well worn,” Dreier said. “I don’t know that they’re original equipment, but we are looking to replace them if at all possible.”

Pool manager Natasha Payne said she had to insert a screwdriver into a gap between the concrete and the base of several diving blocks to keep the wobbly platforms stable during a district swimming competition.

The project list was solely informational because the budget committee has not reviewed it and the school board has not yet voted on next fiscal year’s budget. The staff was seeking direction from the board members about whether to make changes to the list.

Board member Liz Hartman asked staff to look into repairs needed at two district buildings on the LOHS campus.

The general fund pays for most projects, although there was discussion of Lakeridge High School stadium improvements, which construction excise tax revenue supports, and the baseball infield turf at Lakeridge High, backed by Pacer Baseball.

Some improvements may be added as the board continues to assess capital improvement projects for the summer, and there is a real estate study that could affect which buildings are bought or sold that is due to come out in April and could affect where repairs are done. Plus, after recent school shootings elsewhere, district staff began a study of school security, which also could involve further improvements to school buildings.

“One of the things that might be looked at is: Do we want to have video monitoring systems in all of the major entrances and exits to our schools?” Ketzler said.




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