VIDEO: LOSD's next tour, video focus on Oak Creek
Oak Creek Elementary is one of the newest buildings in the Lake Oswego School District, but it already needs at least $7.3 million in repairs to its exterior and more than $900,000 invested in its roof.
When the school was constructed in 1991, the district didn't oversee the design and construction as it should have, according to Randy Miller, LOSD's executive director of project management. The contractor cut some corners, Miller said, and the district didn't know until problems started to emerge.
By then, Miller said, it was too late to sue.
Today, key design flaws at Oak Creek include no cover to the tops of the exterior walls, with just a line of sealant between brickwork and the main building. Much of the sealant has rotted away, as it does over time, giving precipitation a host of entry points all over the school. That's created an extensive "water intrusion" problem in walls and windows, Miller said.
It's a problem the district can correct, Miller said, but until workers have gotten a look inside those walls through a deconstruction process, it's hard to know how extensive the damage is. Costs could be even higher than projected, Miller said.
Miller has said previously that projects included in a $187 million bond measure proposed for the May ballot will have much more oversight to prevent construction problems before they happen. Oak Creek Principal Lilian Sarlos says nowadays the practice is for boots-on-the-ground project managers and program managers to oversee a project and make sure none of the specifications are missed.
"There are people that we're paying who are looking out for us," Sarlos explains.
The public can get an up-close look at Oak Creek's construction flaws during an in-person tour today and by watching The Review's third in a series of accompanying videos (tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017OC ). The district is hosting tours this winter and spring at all 10 operating elementary, junior high and high schools, each one designed to give community members an opportunity to see some of the buildings' maintenance issues for themselves in advance of the May 16 election.
The first tour and video debuted Jan. 19, featuring River Grove Elementary School (tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017RG ). On Feb. 9, locals got a look at Forest Hills Elementary (tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017FH ). Additional tours are scheduled through the end of April.
Coming up next week: Lake Grove Elementary School on Feb. 23.
Together, the tours and videos offer a comprehensive view of the condition of the district's schools, most of which were classified as "poor" or "critical" — the two worst-possible conditions — in a Facilities Condition Assessment (FCA) commissioned by the district in 2015.
This past August, the School Board approved a plan for a three-phase bond that includes scads of building renovations and replacements. There also will be improvements to security, safety and technology.
Phase One, a $187 million bond measure planned for the May 16 ballot, includes $61.44 million for deferred maintenance and capital repairs at all 10 schools; and $82.3 million for the replacement of Lakeridge Junior High, which sits on shifting soil and has cracks in its foundation and load-bearing walls. There also will be additional funding for science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) programs, maker spaces/multipurpose rooms and replacement of the district pool.
A $200 million Phase Two headed to the ballot in 2021 includes replacing Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary School. In 2025, locals will decide on the $150 million Phase Three, which includes raising new buildings for Forest Hills and Lake Grove elementary schools.
Phase One of the bond would carry a bond rate of $0.99 per $1,000 assessed property value. That would establish a tax rate of $304 per year for a home with an assessed value of $320,000, the average according to Clackamas County. (Assessed value is about two-thirds of a typical home's real market value.)
Issues at Oak Creek
Oak Creek may be the third-newest school, but the design flaws in its construction have left it in the third-worst condition of any building in the district. And with its "critical" rating, it is in the worst condition of any school, according to the FCA.
Oak Creek needs a total of $9 million in repairs, but the damage is so severe that several experts hired by the district have recommended replacing the entire structure. The replacement cost, not including soft costs such as design and personnel, was placed at $17.4 million in an initial FCA estimate; a detailed estimate by the district's architect, Dull Olson Weekes-IBI Group Architects Inc., put the final cost at $32.53 million (or $43.34 million including soft costs).
The district has held off on a replacement plan, however, because Oak Creek also is known for having one of the best educational adequacy (EA) ratings: "fair." EA details how well facilities meet criteria that include capacity, technology and security.
The 68,040-square-foot, two-story building had 478 students enrolled on Oct. 1, 2016, according to an Oregon Department of Education report. The current total is down from 539 students in 2015, but it doesn't include the Oak Creek kindergarteners who are now housed at other schools. This year, 72 Oak Creek kindergartners are attending Lake Grove because of a lack of space at Oak Creek, and nine Oak Creek kindergarten students are attending Forest Hills due to space restrictions. In 2011, there were 359 students enrolled at the school.
IF YOU GO
Every in-person tour of the LOSD's 10 schools will be held from 6-7:30 p.m. on a Thursday:
— River Grove Elementary's tour was held on Jan. 19;
— Forest Hills Elementary's tour was held on Feb. 9;
— Oak Creek Elementary: 55 Kingsgate Road, Feb. 16;
— Lake Grove Elementary: 15777 Boones Ferry Road, Feb. 23;
— Westridge Elementary: 3400 Royce Way, March 2;
— Lake Oswego Junior High: 2500 Country Club Road, March 16;
— Lakeridge High: 1235 Overlook Road, March 23;
— Hallinan Elementary: 16800 Hawthorne Drive, April 13;
— Lakeridge Junior High: 4700 Jean Road, April 20;
— Lake Oswego High School and the district pool: 2501 Country Club Road, April 27.
VIEW IT: The Review has been releasing a series of videos in conjunction with the in-person tours:
— To see a virtual tour of River Grove, go to tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017RG.
— To see a virtual tour of Forest Hills, go to tinyurl.com/LOSDBond2017FH.
— To see a virtual tour of Oak Creek, go to