Many oppose the project because of costs

The public will get the chance to weigh in on the hotly debated Lakeridge High stadium project Monday,

The Lake Oswego School Board will hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday at the Lakeridge High School library, 1235 Overlook Drive. The regular meeting was delayed to allow the board to hear out the public before deciding on the issue May 6 at the regular school board session.

A few members of the public spoke out against the project at a meeting last week because of its expense, and letters to the editor and communications with local school board members also show opposition to the project.

With the stipulation that the project would be re-bid, the Lake Oswego School Board voted 4-1 last week to continue with the Lakeridge High School stadium project.

"I feel betrayed by my elected school board officials," said Lake Oswego resident Christopher Ericson in a letter he recently submitted to the Review.

The low bid came in at $2.2 million, not counting architectural fees, exceeding the pre-bid estimate by $400,000, which was higher than a recent project estimate of $1.5 million, which in turn was greater than a $1.25 million initial estimate.

The board also chose to stick with the base project, which would be a press box and covering over the central area of the seating, rather than full covering and other elements such as a new concession/weightroom building.

Board Chairwoman Patti Zebrowski was the sole “no” vote and said she did not support going through with the project at this point when there are other capital improvement projects, including leaking roofs at several buildings, that she said need immediate attention.

The board already had planned to devote construction excise tax revenue to the project, which is projected to be about $1 million by this fall.

Board member Sarah Howell suggested having the community commit to fundraising $500,000 for the project.

Zebrowski said the tax revenue and community donations don’t cover the low bid that came before the board. She said she’s not comfortable with devoting operating funds to the project and believes it could be held off.

Superintendent Bill Korach told board members re-bidding the project may not bring in lower bids as they hope but could result in higher bids.

On Tuesday, Korach said there are several ways the project could be funded, including borrowing dollars from another school district fund, borrowing from an outside entity, going out for a bond or using revenue from the sale of property. The board is looking at selling some of its elementary schools.

Finance Director Stuart Ketzler told board members they need to get bids back in time for the May 5 board meeting at the latest to be able to embark upon the project this summer as planned. The board agreed and asked that bids be brought back then.

Contract Publishing

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