Building 4J's Future: Board Decisions

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In Eugene School District 4J, we’re planning for the future. Our school buildings are aging. It is time to update the long-range facilities plan that guides us in replacing and renovating outdated school buildings.

After a thorough and thoughtful process and significant public input, the school board voted on Feb. 20, 2013, to approve the superintendent's final recommendations and directed staff to update the district's long-range facilities plan accordingly. 

 

Superintendent's Final Recommendations for Updating the Long-Range Facilities Plan

Approved by the Eugene School Board on Feb. 20, 2013

 

Background

The Eugene School District 4J owns and maintains 30 school buildings serving more than 16,000 students. In 2002, the district adopted a long-range facilities plan that set forth an new vision for improving school facilities, calling for the replacement or complete renovation of aging school buildings.  The district completed many of the improvements called for in the first phase of the 2002 long-range plan, including construction of four new school buildings, however the next series of school replacements and major improvements were postponed, as the nation suffered through an economic recession.

In January 2012, the district began work to update the 2002 Long-Range Facilities Plan. MGT of America, Inc., a firm with extensive national experience in school facility assessments and planning, was engaged to evaluate the condition of all 4J school buildings and to provide recommendations that considered facility conditions, enrollment projections and building capacity, and district goals. MGT provided a report and recommendations to the district in May 2012.  

In fall 2012, the board gathered community reactions and input on the concepts outlined in the MGT recommendations. The board then held a series of work sessions to discuss the consultant’s recommendations and the board’s facility planning goals and priorities.  In January, the superintendent presented preliminary recommendations for updating the 2002 Long-Range Facilities Plan and for future bond measures to fund those improvements.  Since that time, a financial analysis was conducted to estimate the tax impact of the bond measure.  The district also contracted with a survey research firm to poll voters about their willingness to support a $170 million bond measure in a May 2013 election.  The survey indicated substantial support for a bond measure as well as strong support for the proposed projects.

 

Recommendation for Updating the District’s 2002 Long-Range Facilities Plan

Excellent public schools play a critical role in the success of children and in the economic viability of a community. The Eugene 4J School District strives to provide a world-class education to help attain better educational results for the students in our area, including improving graduation rates and ensuring students’ college and career readiness. To do so, we need to invest in our people, our technology and educational materials and especially, in our facilities.

Currently, many of the district’s buildings are in poor condition and are expensive to maintain with obsolete infrastructure and systems. Many of 4J’s schools are not adequate to support the types of educational opportunities our students need to be ready for jobs in the current economy.   

With these needs in mind, the 4J Long-Range Facilities Plan seeks to chart a path for the future of our district and our community. The implementation of this plan will help the Eugene School District to build a world-class educational system that strengthens our community and provides students an education that will support their college and career success. 

 

Facility Planning Goals

The goals of the facilities plan are as listed below and build upon the direction set forth in the current Long-Range Facilities Plan adopted in 2002.

  • Ensure school buildings enhance learning and support today’s instructional strategies;
  • Create safe, secure school environments that meet students’ accessibility needs and help improve the educational experience and outcomes for our children;
  • Prioritize improvements to school buildings that are in the poorest condition or are the most expensive to maintain;
  • Achieve long-term cost efficiencies by reducing building-related expenses thereby allowing more funds to be spent on instruction;
  • Provide space for early learning programs and full-day kindergarten in all elementary schools;
  • Address opportunities to partner with and co-locate other community facilities with our schools;
  • Strengthen all four school regions and create equitable and appealing school facilities;
  • Continue to operate two middle schools per high school region;
  • Provide space for world language programs in each of the district’s four school regions; and
  • Identify school district properties that are no longer needed and could be sold or repurposed for a non-school use.

 

Recommendations for Major Projects

The community can enhance the quality of school buildings and the educational experience and environment for students by continuing to replace, renovate and remodel school buildings over the next 10 years.  By seeking voter approval of two bond measures to fund the following major projects, the district can move forward toward achieving its educational vision.

Elementary schools:

  • Replace Howard, River Road and Camas Ridge elementary school buildings.
    Each new elementary school should have space for full-day kindergarten and for early learning programs or other services.
  • Expand Gilham Elementary School and enclose breezeways.
    Enclose exterior breezeways. Add restrooms and classroom space for full-day kindergarten and early childhood programs.
  • Determine how best to renovate or make improvements at Edison Elementary School after completion of master planning process.
  • Replace one additional elementary school, to be determined at a later time.

Middle schools:

  • Replace Roosevelt Middle School at the current Roosevelt site.
  • Renovate the Jefferson/Arts and Technology Academy middle school building to support a program with a science, technology, engineering and math focus. This project will be a mix of new construction and renovation of parts of the existing building such as the gym spaces. The design should also allow for construction of an elementary school addition at some time in the future, if desired.
  • Construct a new synthetic turf field and synthetic track at Kelly Middle School in conjunction with the replacement of Howard Elementary School. 

High schools:

  • Replace or completely renovate North Eugene High School. 
  • Expand or remodel areas of Sheldon High School to better accommodate student enrollment and enhance the learning environment.

District-wide improvements:

  • Improve technology at all schools to better support learning and upgrade the district’s technology infrastructure and equipment.
  • Update instructional materials such as science, writing and math curriculum and science lab equipment.
  • Upgrade security at schools.
  • Upgrade building systems, replace roofs and make other repairs and improvements to existing school buildings.
  • Purchase new school buses.

 

Bond Measures and Phasing of Projects 

Two bond measures are envisioned to fund these improvements.

The first bond measure would be referred to voters in May 2013.  The second bond measure would likely be in 2017 or 2018, when the district’s debt service is projected to drop as older bonds are retired. 

May 2013 
Bond Measure

 

Approximately
$170 million

 

School replacements or renovations:

  • Roosevelt Middle School
  • Jefferson/Arts and Technology Academy Middle School
    (build new classroom areas and renovate)
  • Howard Elementary
  • River Road Elementary

Additions:

  • Gilham Elementary
  • Kelly Middle School track & field

District-wide technology and instructional materials

School repairs

School security upgrades

Bus purchase

2017 or 2018
Bond Measure

 

School replacements or renovations:

  • North Eugene High School
  • Camas Ridge Elementary
  • Edison Elementary
  • One elementary school to be determined

Remodel or addition:

  • Sheldon High School

District-wide technology and instructional materials

Building system upgrades, roofing and other improvements.

These school replacements, renovations and improvements will significantly enhance the learning environment for our students as well as result in school buildings that are safer and more secure, better constructed and less costly to operate.

 

Surplus Properties

The district has the opportunity, in light of enrollment trends, to dispose of surplus property. Civic Stadium, Bailey Hill, and Dunn are currently classified as surplus.  The district should consider disposition of these properties in the future. 

The Coburg Farm Property is also surplus, but currently generates a small amount of revenue with no holding costs.

 

Reserve Properties

Properties currently classified as in reserve for future district use are Kinney Loop in the Sheldon region, Admiral Street in the North region, and Willard and the First Place Center (acreage included with South Eugene High School) in the South region.  I recommend continuing to hold these properties for potential school use in the future. I also recommend that the Crest Drive site in the Churchill region be held in reserve, until proposals for expanding the urban growth boundary are resolved. 

The Parker site currently houses our Eugene College and Career Options program. In the future, the district plans to move this program to the Lane Community College campus. In the meantime, the Parker site will remain in use.

The Coburg School site currently houses the Coburg Community Charter School program.  Because the Coburg Farm Property is outside of the current City of Coburg Urban Growth Boundary and cannot currently be used to site a school facility, I recommend that the Coburg School property be held in reserve in the event that future growth in the area requires a school on the site.

 

Discussion  

Rationale:  All Oregon school districts with an enrollment of more than 2,500 students must have school facility plan that covers a period of at least 10 years.  These recommendations will update the district’s 2002 Long-Range facilities plan, which is now outdated.

Options and Alternatives: The bond could approve, reject or modify the resolution.

Budget/Resource Implications: Implementing these recommendations will require asking voters to approve two bond measures.  The superintendent proposed placing a $170 million bond measure on the May 2013 election ballot.  The second bond measure would be referred to voters in 2017 or 2018.

New school buildings will also be less costly to operate and maintain and have a longer useful life than the current school buildings that are proposed for replacement.  An analysis of renovation vs. replacement has shown that new construction is less expensive, faster and less disruptive to students than renovation.

Board Goal:  The bond supports the board goal to provide stewardship of district resources to best support student success, educational equity and choice.  A board key result is to adopt an updated long-range facilities plan and to determine whether to refer a bond measure to voters in May 2013.

 

Printable PDF of Superintendent's Recommendations 

 

Learn More: 
• Timeline 
• Documents & Materials 
• Public Input   
• Why Replace or Renovate Schools?