In July, the Wallowa School District launched their facilities assessment to determine what repairs and upgrades were needed to take the school through the 21st century. On Monday, September 23rd, their consultants, Pivot Architects, will present the full assessment of physical plant’s mechanical, electrical, and heating needs, along with a report on the toxic gas radon, and a seismic evaluation to school board and faculty. On Tuesday the 24th, Pivot will present the report to the community, and begin seeking community comments. The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the Wallowa High School Gym.
“We really want the participation of the entire community in planning the future of the school,” said Wallowa School board chairman Woody Wolfe. Other school board members emphasized that input from parents, businesses, and everybody else was important to the success of the school, and the future of Wallowa.
The school staff’s principal concern has been the school’s aging, finicky heating system. But they also expect the Pivot report to find other things that need replacement or repair due to deferred maintenance. And there may also be opportunities to remodel and upgrade some facilities, including science labs, shop areas, and art rooms. The board will consider other changes, remodels and improvements recommended by both staff and the community as part of the work.
Wallowa’s assessment and renovation process will include this meeting on Sept. 24 to present the assessment to the community and seek information and input. Another public meeting November 18 will follow that to further refine the plan. In early February 2020 the plan and budget would be finalized. Then there would be a bond levy, with the Oregon Department of Education matching the amount of the bond, dollar for dollar, up to $4 million through its Oregon School Capital Improvements (OSCIM) grant program. So the district could do up to $8 million worth of work for half the price.
“We want the community to participate,” said school board member Matt Howard. “The school is the hub of this community, and this chance to have a truly outstanding facility that works for everyone here is something that we shouldn’t miss.”