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Eagle Point School District is considering going out for a bond to improve several schools.

Eagle Point ponders school upgrades

Eagle Point School District is looking to build. District officials are developing a bond measure that would renovate schools, create more space for career and technical education and increase school safety.

And, they said, they want district voters to be well aware it’s coming.

“I feel like our community deserves for us to do our due diligence and have a long process and collect data as well as community thinking,” said Cynda Rickert, district superintendent. “That takes a lot of time, but I think it’s on us to make sure we’re doing that.”

The road to a school bond, which at this point has no set amount or election date, is already a multi-year discussion in Eagle Point.

Rickert said it was borne out of a review in 2015 of how safe the district’s schools were. A facilities planning committee scrutinized every school through the 2016-2017 school year, presenting recommendations on the needs of each in June 2017.

That report listed 25 top recommendations of potential projects that could be funded through a bond.

Table Rock Elementary was marked as having the most pressing needs — the committee recommended tearing down the school, formerly called White City Elementary, saying it “appears to be beyond the stage where renovations would be beneficial.”

Shady Cove School was second on the list — the committee recommended renovating the elementary portion of the K-8 school. The middle school facility was built through the district’s most recent bond in 2000, but Rickert said the elementary school construction dates to sometime around the Great Depression.

A bond committee formed at the end of 2017 will make recommendations as to which projects the district should take on and detail their estimated cost. Eagle Point’s School Board would make the final decision about putting the issue on the ballot.

Rickert said the two main priorities shaping those choices are the level of need at each site and the overall cost that the board is willing to ask voters to take on.

She and Nita Lundberg (corrected), chair of the School Board, said updating school facilities is a matter of equity. Lundberg said the learning environments at the older and the newer schools are “completely different.”

Since January, the bond committee and School Board have combined two meetings and work sessions with site visits. The group has visited Table Rock Elementary and Eagle Point High School. It also hired a firm to conduct a community survey to gauge feelings about a school bond. When those results were presented to the board early this year, Rickert said district officials felt “optimistic” about the level of support for a bond.

The district officials will visit Shady Cove School at 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 13. Members of the public are invited to attend the tour and work session in the gym at 37 Schoolhouse Lane, Shady Cove.

Lundberg and Rickert both said the district is still in the early stages of determining details and plans to reach out more to the community to gather ideas. Rickert said the district plans to hold some informative effort during Eagle Point’s Fourth of July celebrations.

“One of the things that we learned several years ago is you cannot start too early in the conversation about a bond,” Lundberg said.

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

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