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Mount Angel wants to renovate schools through bond

The Mount Angel School District is going out for a $10.4 million general obligation bond in the November election to work on much-needed renovations.

According to the wording that will be in voter pamphlets, the school board approved the bond to “renovate, maintain and improve safety and learning.”

If passed, the bond would finance renovations including roofing, heating and ventilation, electrical, plumbing, safety and security systems, furnishings, technology and curriculum materials and equipment.

At St. Mary’s Public School, a passed bond would mean improvements to the parking lot and student drop-off area.

“Right now, there is a lot of congestion when it’s time to pick up and drop of students,” said Superintendent Troy Stoops. “So anything there would mainly target the traffic flow.”

At Mount Angel Middle School, a bond would mean renovations to the gym, which currently has a concrete and asbestos-laced tile floor, bathrooms, locker rooms, parking lot, relocation of the administrative office and a classroom pod conversion.

At John F. Kennedy High School, the bond would mean seismic upgrades, a repurposing of the cafeteria and entrance of the building into a commons area, along with a weight room and locker room relocation, and more capital improvements.

“Right now, there is no commons area where students can study or where groups can have meetings,” Stoops said. “Right now, kids meet in the hallways. We’ve had the cafeteria, but it’s (a floor beneath) the gym, so just a ball bouncing disrupts any meetings you might try to have in there.”

Although the district took out a loan to pay for $556,000 in emergency capital improvements over the summer, that amount could be paid back if the bond were to pass. The summer improvements included roof work to all three schools, asbestos removal in the high school cafeteria ceiling and replacement of the high school locks.

“But we borrowed for the summer projects as if there was no bond,” Stoops pointed out.

Currently, the school district is coming off a 1995 bond that paid for the St. Mary’s school building, which replaced the one destroyed in the 1993 earthquake. Over the life of the bond, the tax rate has fluctuated downward between $4.50 and $2.50 per $1,000 assessed property value. This bond would take over and stay consistent at $3.50 per $1,000 assessed property value.

“So someone with a $200,000 home would go from paying $43 a month to $58 a month,” Stoops said.

If passed, the district could start work in summer 2014, with some work continuing during the school year. Completion of the renovations is projected to be fall of 2015.

The district started discussions on facility improvements in January 2012, forming a committee to pinpoint the greatest need and how those goals could be achieved. In the spring of this year, the district held a number of meetings throughout the community to share the information gathered and to get a sense of what the public would support.

“I think we have a lot of support,” Stoops said. “Mount Angel is very supportive of education. If residents are shown that it would fill a need to improve education, I think they could get behind it.”




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  • 30 Jul 2014

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