MY VOICE: Gathering community input
Over the past four months, the La Grande School District and a Strategic Facilities Planning Committee of citizens has worked diligently to study the facility and safety needs throughout the district, and we’re now ready to gather some important feedback from the community.
The La Grande School Board will utilize this feedback as it moves forward with a decision regarding a school bond measure on the November 2014 election ballot.
The La Grande School Board established a facilities committee of about 50 people, including several parents, retired folks, La Grande School District certified and classified staff members, school administrators, business owners, a county commissioner, the La Grande mayor, the La Grande police chief, Eastern Oregon University personnel and school board members. The purpose of the committee was to study and make a recommendation of the facilities assessment completed in the summer of 2013 by DLR Group, Architects regarding the current condition of La Grande School District facilities. This committee is referred to as the Strategic Facilities Planning Committee.
The committee met from November through February making physical tours of each building, studying the assessment of facilities completed by DLR Group and finally making a final recommendation to the La Grande School Board at the Feb. 26 school board meeting. The committee recommended the replacement of Central Elementary School, additional classrooms (removal of modulars) and a kitchen at Island City Elementary School, additional classrooms at Greenwood Elementary, and a new industrial arts (vocational) building, gymnasium improvements and auditorium improvements at
Improvements are recommended for all schools to address security issues, making buildings safer for students. In addition, upgraded windows, doors, technology updates, electrical upgrades and heat system upgrades would save on energy costs. The additional classrooms in the elementary schools will provide for full day kindergartens.
The estimated total budget is $31,850,000 with an estimated $1.99 per $1,000 of assessed property value, or $225 per year in property tax, for the average La Grande residential assessment of $112,953.
At the March 12 school board meeting, the board directed the administration to move forward by sharing the proposed plan with community members and staff. The idea behind the meetings is to educate the community regarding the specifics of the recommended plan and the needs of the school district and to gather additional ideas and input from the community. This information gathering process will occur in April and May and will include meetings with staff members, civic groups, community forums and a phone survey.
The La Grande School Board will study community input at the June board meeting and make a final decision regarding a school bond at that time.
All information regarding work completed by the Strategic Facilities Planning Committee is available by going to our website at www.lagrande.k12.or.us and under Current Topics clicking on Strategic Facilities Planning Committee.
Larry Glaze is the superintendent of the La Grande School District.
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