ENTERPRISE — The Enterprise School District Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution on Monday, July 6, that will put a $4 million general obligation bond on the Nov. 3 ballot.
The bond will fund critically needed improvements and renovations to the century-old junior high school building, as well as the high school, gym and school grounds. The funds raised by the bond measure will be matched equally by a $4 million Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching program (OSCIM) grant from the Oregon Department of Education, but only if the bond is approved.
The board’s resolution states that the total $8 million in funding will be applied to improvements needed for health, safety and for the integrity of the buildings. Among the most important are a new roof on the junior high school, which is leaking significantly and was temporarily patched last fall, and new roofing on other buildings as needed. Work funded by the bond would also include addressing storm water runoff problems that are threatening the stability of some building foundations, and abating/removing asbestos identified in the school.
The approved work also included making the school buildings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and improving safety and security including adding secure entry vestibules in the junior high school and high school.
“The school board has been working on these plans for almost two years now,” Enterprise School District Board President Kate Fent said. “It’s good to see us moving forward on them.”
Assessing and planning for the improvements began with a technical assistance program (TAP) grant. Those funds allowed the board to engage the Wenaha Group based in Pendleton, and over a more than 18-month period, arrive at the plan presented in the bond measure.
If passed, the bond would apply to residents of the school district. Bonds would mature not to exceed 15 years from issuance and may be issued in series. The estimated tax rate is $1.08 per $1,000 of assessed property value for 10 years and 54 cents per $1,000 for five years. The actual levy rate may differ due to changes in interest rates and assessed value.
“It was important to us to keep the costs down and to structure the bond so that it was something that the community could afford,” board member Adrian Harguess said.
In other business, the school board approved a school calendar similar to last year’s, with graduation scheduled at 1 p.m. on May 29, 2021. Fent was elected board president for a second two-year term. Heather Melville was elected as the board vice president.
Superintendent Erika Pinkerton reported that athletes and their coaches now have access to the gym for training in anticipation of the start of fall sports, and that coaches would be responsible for the cleaning and other things now required to meet state and Oregon Department of Education COVID-19 rules.
Pinkerton also recommended that the district not proceed with a grant proposal to improve or construct sidewalks on streets adjacent to the campus, and especially not on the street between the school and the athletic field.
“The street right of way is really quite wide, and a lot of residents have made the right of way part of their lawns. There are a number of big trees that would probably have to come down. It’s just not a project we should do at this time,” she said. “There are other innovative things we can do to ensure that our kids are safe.”
Finally, work has been started to repair and reroute plumbing in the field house adjacent to the athletic field. The field house had issues with freezing during the winter months because in the original construction, the domestic water piping was run through an unconditioned attic space. The repairs this summer will abandon the piping in the attic and run new insulated piping in a framed chase on the ceiling within the occupied, heated space. This solution was less expensive than heating the attic space and changing the roof insulation and venting system.
With these repairs, the building will still need to be drained during the winter months when the heat is shut off and the building is not in use.
Miller Plumbing and CB Construction Inc. of La Grande won the bids and contracted with the district on this project. Miller Plumbing’s contract is $7,400 for plumbing; CB Construction Inc. was awarded $11,187 for construction needed to accommodate the new piping.