REDMOND — Redmond School District is making progress on a bond that would provide funding for renovations in some schools and the complete rebuilding of another to increase the safety and security of students.
Superintendent Mike McIntosh hopes to get the bond before voters in May, he told the school board during an update on the bond’s progress Wednesday night.
“I think it’s urgent,” he said. “The need will not disappear — it will only get greater and greater.”
Redmond School District staffers are still conducting studies on necessary safety, security and energy efficiency measures.
An engineering team from McKinstry was on hand at Wednesday’s meeting to explain the varying degrees of need to replace or renovate schools. The team presented the results of a study, which showed an extensive list of outdated assets.
“We looked at everything; we opened every door,” said McKinstry engineer Daniel Shaw. “The things (in the report) are just past their life expectancy; it has nothing to do with maintenance at all.”
Wednesday’s presentation highlighted some of the most dire needs for multiple buildings, including the cracked and chipped exterior at Vern Patrick Elementary School; the outdated circulation pumps at the Redmond Early Learning Center at Hugh Hartman; the original water heater at Obsidian Middle School that was installed in 1979; and the air conditioning unit at Redmond High School from 1970.
“Forty-seven (years old) is just fine for a person, but not for a water heater,” said McKinstry engineer Crystal Benson.
The study showed five key points that are considered necessary and nearly all relate to making schools in Redmond safer for students, while improving the quality of the learning environment, McIntosh said, referring to recent school shootings across the country and the roof that collapsed at Highland Magnet at Kenwood School in Bend last year.
“We live in 2018, and there is a growing urgency to make our schools safer,” McIntosh said. “That’s an emotional conversation. I speak the gospel of urgency because you hear about roofs collapsing in Bend and my blood pressure goes up and my life expectancy goes down. I don’t need what happens in Bend and the rest of the world to happen in Redmond. Not on my watch.”
In addition to school safety, the bond measure would address key points of energy efficiency, the longevity of specific systems — HVAC, lighting and boilers — and the educational adequacy of the classroom environment.
“When you buy a new car, it will still eventually require routine maintenance on things like tires, brakes, etc.,” McIntosh said. “I equate that with doors, carpets, lighting or paint. All those things have a shelf life, and this would let us dive into routine and necessary maintenance.”
Lynch Elementary is a concern, he said. Built in 1965, the current building has a flat roof and little to no insulation, among other problems, McIntosh said. It would cost an estimated $21 million to renovate the school building and $27 million to rebuild the structure.
“It’s impossible to remodel, so we’d have to tear it down and put a new one in its place,” he said. “That’s the most cost effective way to make it safe and conducive to a learning environment.”
The language of the bond itself is still under discussion, and the school board will continue to discuss that at a meeting on Feb. 7. The deadline to submit the bond measure for a May election is Feb. 23.
Board members briefly discussed how much to ask for, indicating that they could ask for more than the tentative $70 million figure that was suggested by McIntosh.
Multiple board members voiced their desire to get the bond on the ballot in May, though the results of a public survey are not yet reported.
“May should be our first try, because we would still have November to regroup if we have to,” said Vice Chairman Tim Carpenter. “Even if it doesn’t get passed, these problems aren’t going to go away.”
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