On Jan 27, the preliminary cost estimates for needed repairs and improvements to Enterprise’s school buildings were presented to the 18-member Enterprise School District Long Term Facilities Planning Committee. The committee will produce their final recommendation for the school repairs and upgrades at their Feb. 17 meeting. Recommendations will be presented to the School Board for approval on March 9. The school district expects to have a bond measure for funding on the November 2020 ballot.

The committee plans to provide two recommendations: one which assumes that the Enterprise School District will pass the bond in November and also receive an Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program (OSCIM) grant of up to $4 million from the State of Oregon. The other option will assume that the grant application for matching funds is turned down. The Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program (OSCIM) provides matching grants to districts that pass a local general obligation bond. The goal of the program is to encourage local communities to invest in their district’s public schools.

The school district is already working on the grant application, which is due March 15.

For almost a year, the Enterprise School District has been undergoing a review of their school’s physical facilities with an eye toward levying a bond and getting a multi-million dollar matching grant from the State of Oregon to take their buildings well into the 21st century. Pendleton-based Wenaha Group consultants conducted the facilities survey under the Oregon Department of Education Technical Assistance program (TAP).

A new roof for the middle school has been one of the highest priorities. The estimate for a 15-year roof with a three-ply construction and 6” insulation: $1,136,906. For the “best” option, a 30-year guarantee, the estimated cost was $1,540,406. Improvement or replacement of the HVAC systems, especially in the middle and elementary schools, and improving the security and handicapped accessibility of school buildings for the safety of students are also high priorities.

Security estimates ranged from $635,133 to $903,512 and included constructing secure vestibules in all three buildings, security cameras, improved fencing, and access card readers on key exterior doors.

The committee now has until Feb. 17 to choose which of the many recommended repairs and improvements are most essential, and find a budget number that the community can afford.

The figures seemed to be in the ball-park of what the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee members expected, with the lower end total of $7.7 million and total for the “best” improvements of $9.9 million.

“I can understand in part why the numbers seem to be so high,” said Long Range Facilities Planning Committee member Kannon Miller. “The estimates include everything from design to final construction and approval. Wages are calculated at prevailing rates.”

Committee member Autumn Wilburn noted that the estimates included “about 90 percent” of the committee’s highest priority needs. “I’m just glad there’s a state matching grant,” she said.

It will be up to the committee and the school board to determine which of the improvements to undertake, and what the final budget total will be.

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