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Pool continues to dominate school bond discussion

Majority of speakers at a Lake Oswego School Board meeting want the dilapidated facility included in final proposal

REVIEW FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - In February 2016, then-Lake Oswego High School senior Edward Kang set a new district record in the 100 butterfly and also won the district title in the 100 backstroke. Kang went on to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.Joe Dahl and a handful of other community members told the Lake Oswego School Board this week that investments in the district’s pool must be added to a school bond measure that will go before voters in the May 2017 election.

“What would the next step be,” Dahl asked, “if we venture down the slippery slope of limiting our students’ athletic opportunities?”

Several of the speakers at Tuesday night’s board meeting had other priorities, including Hallinan Elementary School parent Celine Mattersdorff, who wanted to ensure that nature would not be forgotten when it comes to any new buildings proposed in the bond.

“I’d like to see buildings that are modeled for sustainability,” Mattersdorff said, “where students are active participants, both in the design and in the monitoring of those infrastructures.”

But about half of the 11 people who spoke at the meeting wanted either a new pool or renovations of the current facility. Many of the speakers pointed out that swimming is a no-cut sport that’s open to all, but that the 45-year-old pool facility is timeworn, despite recent repairs and upgrades. A district-commissioned study identified it as in the second-worst condition of all buildings in the Lake Oswego School District.

HOWELL“It’s time for Lake Oswego to support a new pool,” said Nick Simons, a seventh-grader at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School and a member of the Lake Oswego Swim Club. “Let’s build a pool for the future, one that will last another 50 years. I am asking you to include a pool in the first phase of the upcoming bond measure.”

The current three-phase bond proposal, which was approved by the School Board on Aug. 29, includes a 30-year plan to improve all school facilities. Lakeridge Junior High would be replaced in the first $180 million phase; the school stands on shifting soil, and its foundation and walls are cracking. Other investments in Phase One include seismic and maintenance upgrades; adding multi-purpose rooms/maker spaces to elementary schools; science, technology, engineering, art and math improvements; and safety, security and technology upgrades.

In 2021, after voter approval, the $200 million Phase Two would include replacing Lake Oswego Junior High and River Grove Elementary School and other capital projects. In 2025, Phase Three would include replacing Forest Hills and Lake Grove elementary schools and other capital projects.

Phase One involves a bond rate of $0.95 per $1,000 assessed property value; it would result in a $304-per-year tax for a home with an assessed value of $320,000, the average according to Clackamas County. (Assessed value is about two-thirds of a typical home’s real market value.) Phase Two will have the same bond rate, and Phase Three will be a bond rate renewal, with no cost increase.

The bond is intended to help the district address at least $98 million (not counting soft costs such as design and personnel) in seismic issues and to address building maintenance deferred during the recession in favor of funding personnel and student instruction.

The board has invited the public to weigh in on the proposal after a year-long process involving formal recommendations from two committees, an online forum and two phone surveys.

“The School Board (has been) committed and remains committed to involving the community in all stages of the process,” Chair Sarah Howell said.

The current proposal does not include the pool, but the board plans to discuss possible improvements to the facility next week before voting on a final bond proposal on Oct. 10.

Speakers at two public meetings in September were overwhelmingly in favor of the bond, although they had different ideas about what it should include and when.

Lake Oswego resident and parent Liz Welsh told the board she was hoping for more money in the first phase, for example. But inevitably, the discussions have come back around to the pool.

Swimmer and local parent Jeff Rodgers said Tuesday that the facility, which was closed earlier this year for repairs to cracked beams, needs some help.

“It needs some TLC,” Rodgers said. “It would be a shame to let it go without consideration in the first phase of the bond.”

Shelby Campion said she recently read Howell’s Sept. 15 Citizen’s View in The Review about the bond proposal and agrees wholeheartedly that students deserve top-notch facilities. Most of all, though, she wanted a place for swimmers.

“Please support the district pool as part of the bond measure,” Campion told the board.

Contact Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..