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WL-WV bond includes plans for WLHS

Project would add class space to the school's 700 building


As voters in the West Linn-Wilsonville school district start to receive their ballots for the November election, they have the chance to weigh in on two ballot measures placed there by the WL-WV school district.

Both measures are renewals, and neither is expected to change current tax rates if passed.

Measure 3-455 asks voters to approve a local option operating tax. Based on a property-tax rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, the local option is expected to raise approximately $3.45 million in 2015-16 and approximately $23.75 million over the five years it would be in effect. The district would use that money to maintain current programs and staffing levels. Right now, 46 teacher positions are funded by the local option.

Measure 3-456 asks voters to allow the district to issue general obligation bonds totaling $84.5 million to finance additional school structures and improvements to current facilities. An average cost of $0.87 per $1,000 of assessed value is projected annually over the bond term. The anticipated amount is approximately $174 per year on a home with a $200,000 taxable value.

Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO - The 700 Building at West Linn High School could get a remodel with funds from a new capital construction bond, if voters approve Measure 3-456 in November.If the capital construction bond passes, the school district plans to build a new middle school in Wilsonville on property it owns off Advance Road. The district also intends to replace its oldest primary school, Sunset in West Linn, where the building’s age and condition, administrators say, has made repairs and maintenance costly and impractical.

The district plans smaller construction projects, including classroom additions and renovations, at each existing school site. Two larger renovation projects have been identified as priorities: the addition of classroom space and renovations in the 700 Building at West Linn High School and to the music and drama wing at Wilsonville High School.

Constructed of concrete in the late 1950s, the 700 Building stands between the main school building and the football field at WLHS. In the past, it housed classes in auto shop, small engine repair and drafting. Now, it houses art classes and the school’s environmental science program.

WLHS has undergone three phases of major reconstruction, beginning with a new entry and commons in 1992, a new classroom wing and administrative space in 2000 and, in 2005, a new gym, cafeteria, weight room, dance studio and performing arts building. The 700 Building represents what the district says is the last phase in its master plan for the campus.

“It’s valuable space,” Superintendent Bill Rhoades said. “It’s a well-built building.”

The goal of renovating it, he added, is to make it suitable for contemporary education needs. The building’s unique design makes it appropriate for so-called “garage” space suitable for innovative and technical work in addition to enhanced facilities for art education and environmental sciences.

“It’s not a huge project in terms of dollars but it will have a huge impact on that school,” WL-WV Director of Operations Tim Woodley said.

“It’s the last frontier at West Linn High. We’ve rebuilt that school in place since 1998. This is the last piece to be completed,” Woodley said.

According to conceptual cost estimates shared by the school district at a bond summit held in January, the 700 Building renovations could cost approximately $5.75 million.

Initial estimates were slightly higher for the improvement planned at Wilsonville High School, another part of the 2004 master plan for the school. WHS was built in 1995.

“When it was designed, Wilsonville High School was designed for 750 kids,” Woodley said. “In 2005-2006, we built the south wing, where we expanded classrooms.”

With the addition of that wing, the school’s enrollment capacity rose to 1,500.

“The performing arts parts still represent accommodations for 750,” Woodley added.

WHS students are participating in drama, band and choir programs in increasing numbers and those programs have continued to grow — and, gradually, to outgrow the spaces allowed for them within the school building.

The renovation project would create more practice rooms for band and choir as well as a new entrance to the performance space.

“It truly sets it for a 1,500-student high school,” Woodley said.

Next week: District plans safety, security upgrades to existing school facilities if bond measure passes.

Contact Kate Hoots at 503-636-1281 or khoots@westlinntidings.com.

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