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Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Renovations at Shady Cove School are part of a $95 million bond the Eagle Point School Board will ask voters to pass on Nov. 6.

$95M bond would build new school, improve others in Eagle Point

Eagle Point residents will vote on a $95 million school bond in November.

The Eagle Point School Board on Wednesday unanimously approved issuing a ballot measure that asks voters to fund a 31-year construction bond to build a new elementary school in White City, improve both Shady Cove School and Eagle Point High School and upgrade safety across the district. It also includes projects to improve parking and energy efficiency.

“This is simple for me and the rest of the board,” said Dan Hodges, board vice chair. “I think we’re overdue in this district. I’ve beat it and beat it, but the inequity between some of our schools embarrasses me, and I want to fix that.”

The tax rate increase is projected at $0.89 per $1,000 of assessed value, according to the resolution the board adopted Wednesday. It would add $178 a year on a house with a $200,000 assessed value.

A district release said that construction would take place over a five-year period, under the direction of an independent citizen Bond Oversight Committee.

District officials began investigating the possibility of going out for a bond in 2016, when a facilities planning committee surveyed all the school buildings in the district for their renovation and rebuilding needs.

In June 2017, the committee presented a final report that listed 25 of the top-priority projects. Renovations at Table Rock Elementary and Shady Cove School topped that list.

A few residents spoke in the Wednesday meeting’s public forum about a project they want to see included in the bond: a practice facility for the district’s middle school wrestling teams. Jim Mannenbach, a retired teacher who taught health in the district (corrected), said that since the old building that housed wrestling practices burned down in 2002, teams from Eagle Point Middle School and White City have practiced in the middle school cafeteria. They set up, clean, practice on and put away the mats every practice, he said. Students have been injured from falling off the mats onto the cafeteria floor, and the walls are not padded, he said.

Mannenbach pointed out the district’s first board goal centers on student safety as the top priority.

“Middle school wrestling rooms were identified as a safety need during the last bond election,” he said. “Please consider the safety of these students as a top priority and vote to include these wrestling rooms as part of the current bond proposal.”

District Human Resources Director Allen Barber, who has led the bond effort up to this point, said the language of the proposed bond is general enough that wrestling facilities could be included in the upgrades.

“Typically, school districts do not list every possible improvement but instead they list large projects and possible renovations,” he said in an email Thursday.

Last summer, officials said, smoke from wildfires forced teachers to choose between inhaling smoke or learning in sweltering classrooms, depending on whether they opened their windows.

The bond also would mitigate overcrowding from a growing student population and replace out-of-date electrical and HVAC systems.

Oregon’s general election will take place Nov. 6.

Reach Mail Tribune reporter Kaylee Tornay at ktornay@rosebudmedia.com or 541-776-4497. Follow her on Twitter @ka_tornay.

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