September 04, 2003 11:00 pm

It might be a tough sell during a year when Oregon's economy is not percolating, but Imbler School District voters should take a close look at the elementary school building project that their school board is proposing.

THE BOARD has placed on the Nov. 4 ballot a $4.25 million bond levy to construct a new 24,000-square foot school. The one-story structure would replace a brick building that was constructed in 1916 and has fallen under serious disrepair.

Among the building's problems are cracks in its foundation, a weak library floor, a roof that needs work, windows that need replacing and an inadequate heating system.

The new building would replace the main elementary school building and gym, Wade Hall, which was built 70 years ago, and the school's east wing that was constructed in the 1950s.

People driving by the main building might admire its attractive exterior and assume there is nothing wrong inside. Prior to the November election, the school board should provide walking-tours of the old building so citizens can see the problems for themselves.

THE BOND MEASURE would cost district property owners approximately $4.50 per $1,000 of true cash value. And that might be the rub. Imbler voters, however, must weigh this cost with what a new grade school building would mean for the community, its young people and teachers. The new school would feature a large library, a music room, a kitchen, cafeteria and gym, and would be wired for technology.

The school board has made a bold step in putting out a major bond measure for voters' consideration. It's up to the citizens of Imbler to gather as much information as possible, and vote as their heart and pocketbook dictates.


They're coming here next week by the hundreds on two-wheelers.

Cycle Oregon is passing through Northeast Oregon on its annual September bike ride. The week-long tour will arrive in La Grande for an overnight stop Friday.

THIS IS A TIME for the community to put on its best face to make the visitors feel welcome. It's also a time for volunteers to step forward to help accommodate the guests.

Janet Dodson of Union County Tourism said people are needed to assemble the stage downtown, shuttle cyclists from Pioneer Park to the downtown area and help serve breakfast Saturday morning.

Many riders will be seeing La Grande for the first time. Some will be so impressed that they'll make plans to return some day to see more of the area. Those who can volunteer should contact Dodson at 963-8588.