Corbett School District Regular February 2016 School Board Meeting
Karina Lande. Board Meeting Notes from audio recordings.
* NOTE: This web site is provided as a courtesy for those interested in following along with the happenings in our district, especially those that live in Corbett. This site and these board notes are not meant to replace official CSD board meeting minutes but many of us appreciate and thank Karina for attending, recording and sharing these updates.
Below are my notes from the last board meeting on 2/17/16. I audio recorded this meeting as well. This is only covering the portion of the meeting relating to the bond measure. The final board discussion and vote to place a general obligation bond on the May ballot was decided at this meeting.
First, I’d like to take a moment to note my personal appreciation of April & Eric Eaton whom over the last few years have put a tremendous amount of their time and effort into the bonds. They’ve worked up legitimate plans and offered ways the board could feasibly renovate the existing middle school building while still meeting the educational needs of the district. Eric has extensive experience as a contractor remodeling old buildings. They’ve been committed and regularly attended meetings over the years and publicly shared their thoughts. Eric spoke once again at the previous meeting on Feb 10th, his comments were a gut wrenching final plea to the board to save the building and its historical significance to our community. I have the utmost respect for Eric’s passion for the history of Corbett and his plight to save the old building. “A people without the knowledge of their history, origin and culture, is like a tree without roots.” Funny at one of the recent bond information nights the board gave out T shirts that said: Corbett, Honor the Past, Look to the Future. But that was when they wanted to renovate the MS and add 42,000 SF in new buildings too. I guess now you just draw a line through that Honor the Past part when you wear the shirt?
Although I’m open to new construction or renovation concepts, (as a mere 12 year resident I don’t feel that is my decision to make) I do support preserving history in general but would support whichever the voting majority of Corbett wanted. However, I do feel this important question has never been answered by the residents of Corbett, it is a shame it may never be, and it’s the opinion of 8 people and a few shoddy surveys that answer for you all.
Another side note for those who are new; at most school board meetings the superintendent does not help facilitate the meetings. Usually a superintendent is in attendance but only speaks when the board has related questions for them. In Corbett our superintendent sits at the table with the board and usually does more talking then anyone else. I think it’s also important to point out that the ideas and plans come from our superintendent and the board appears to merely discuss his proposals and vote on them. I’ve always found it interesting that it is not our elected board whom does the work, in this instance and many others. It seems Randy employs the board and not the other way around, as it should be. Just my opinion.
I will clarify my personal comments from that of the meeting, and include background info, usually inside parentheses. I tend to use initials and they are as follows:
RT – Randy Trani district superintendent
TM – Todd Mickelson board chair
DG – David Gorman Vice chair
BB – Bob Buttke board member
MP – Margarite Perry board member
KK – Katey Kinnear – board member
LA – Lacey Auble – board member
MV – Michelle Vo – board member
MPB – multi-purpose building (theater & cafeterias)
ADA – Americans with disabilities act (wheelchair accessible bathrooms, appropriate ramps, door hardware and automatic openers, etc.)
Title 9 – Equal opportunity access (boys and girls locker rooms must be equivalent in size.)
It was suggested at the previous bond meeting 2/10/16, (after the response to renovating it PLUS building new didn’t go well) that they build a new school but also leave the old MS standing, but closed down & unused. It was thought this would gain more yes votes. Getting yes votes from those who want a new building and yes votes also from those who want the old building saved. The idea was to try for another bond in the future to renovate it and if it failed then demolish it. I’m glad they decided against this political strategy.
Onto the meeting; the bond section started with public comment.
Charlie Oneil (previous board chair who resigned) States that he disagrees with the idea of leaving the old building standing and not doing anything with it. “The idea is to see a new building when we drive by. Also I would vote for the 11.9 or something less, and think it should be a lesser amount.” Stating it may be better to go just for replacing the building at a lower bond amount verses risking losing the $4 million in matching funds by a bond failing. He thinks if they go smaller it is more likely to pass.
Randy then talks about the letter from ODE (Oregon department of education), it’s a Congratulatory letter for the $4 million matching funds and what we need to do from here to remain qualified. By Feb 26 submit bond resolution, and March 8 form sel803 with explanatory statement for bond.
Randy reviews the Information from the community postcard survey; they’ve had 144 returned. He states that’s about 10% of the voters from the last election. 47% (about 67 people) of those turned in postcards that were from Yes voters state they would not pay more to save the MS building. O% who said they were No voters changed to a yes vote by spending more to save the MS building.
(Many people have disputed over the years the validity of the claims that a renovation would cost substantially more. In fact in a previous district handout from Randy the renovation was stated to be $5.6 million, and a brand new school of the same size at $5.3 million, not quite the $3.1 million in additional costs they claimed on that latest postcard they sent.)
(Also note that although the number stated repeatedly in this meeting is $11.9 million, the actual amount they’ll spend is $15.9 million with the matching $4 million from the state added. If they get the $1.5 million grant for seismic updates, this makes the grand total $17.4 million dollars. The past bonds that failed were $15 million, $9.4 million, and $8 million. How is spending more then the last 2 bond proposals to get 1/3 added for free this insanely good deal for us?)
Randy reads a copy of his proposed bond language for board resolution which states:
Cost to residents will be 1.78 per thousand of home value. For 21 years.
States the district has $25 million in needs and the plan is a “phased approach”. Bond amount of $11.9 million + 4 million matching funds from the state for a total of $15.9 million to spend.
MP – Bottom line we need to get kids out of that school & take care of the critical safety needs on campus and in a way the community is involved. What I don’t have a firm grip on is what we’d be getting for this $11.9 (actually 15.9 million) amount, Randy can you clarify? I get we can’t get everything on our needs list but what are the options to not get?
RT – If we Only built square footage and didn’t do:
*MPB Seismic updates
*Fire and life safety or Ada in the HS
*Seismic or title 9 & Ada in the gym
*A new bus barn
Then you could build 45,000 SF of buildings, which is still about 10,000 SF less then the board has set as our lower limit need for student space. (This size “standard” is an arbitrary number of square footage per student that Randy says we need, and the board approved via voting in “their SF per student standards”. Also every previous bond proposed a 25,000 SF school until now.)
RT – So the reality is some of those projects we could get funded through other sources like the seismic grant. So we believe we will get at least one of those projects funded this year and it would be the gym which is the major one.
(Intent to nix critical projects in favor of more square footage?)
RT – If you want to address any of those other things you start eating away at and losing square footage. For every million you put into something else you’re going to lose about 3,076 SF.
Randy are you using the per Students SF for the MS or HS in your calculations?
Both, We said we need 42,900 SF + remodeling the existing 15,000 SF middle school so total is
57,000 SF student space need. And another 2,000 SF district staff space need.
So with this bond my impression is this bond would cover a new school plus all the other fire life & safety issues? The only thing it won’t do is provide a new HS or meet our standards for space?
Let’s say you do all fire life & safety and the title 9 and transportation,
that is 5.5 million and leaves 9.5 million which gives you a 29,000 SF building.
My thought is a 25000 SF building = $7.5 million, Ada fire life & seismic on gym $3.4 million, Bus Barn $600k, Science labs for $1.5 million,
Title 9 for $1.5 million and A District office for $200k. Totals right at $15 million.
What will we do as temporary housing for students?
One plan was use the weight room and old locker rooms turning them into 2 science rooms that you could use to house kids while you’re building. You can do a lot of building at the back of campus to create space to put kids while you build a new school up front.
Reality we’re choosing a number not projects. Those would be during master planning and community facility planning process. What we’re doing is picking a number (dollar amount) that is appropriate.
Yeah we’re deciding a range of things we “might” do, or be able to afford to do.
Yeah but we need to make sure we don’t sell ourselves short so if the over site committee recommended to do the first 4 or 5 items we have enough left.
Michelle is right really what we need to decide is a number. The lowest would be 4 million to get the 4 million matching, but reality is that low we can’t even build “A” school big enough for everybody. It’s gotta be higher then that.
(Another inclination of the possibility of 2 schools being built?)
Randy would 25,000 sq feet meet our needs for the MS or the HS?
It would be almost to the minimum the board set for the need of the MS only, so no it would not be big enough to be a new HS.
The MS we want is 33,750 SF and the HS we want is 74,700 SF which is 1 & 1/2 times the size of the grade school. But you’d subtract the gym space from that.
(Note in previous bond handouts it has been stated that a 20,000 SF school is TOO BIG for a middle school, now they want 33,750 SF? It was also stated a 25,000 SF school is a good size for a high school, and now they want 74,700 SF? Why the drastic differences? I have to question the way the building sizes and what will or won’t work seems to constantly change depending on how much money they are trying to justify.)
Can we make the existing HS work until we can pass another bond in the future?
Yeah but the difficulty with limiting the space is that we may not be able to get back the small HS adjustment which is this ongoing 5% cut to our budget. (That’s the $550,000 in small school funding we lost annually, when the state realized we had a school within a school and not in fact 2 separate schools. Another plan implemented by our superintendent that cost us substantial money.) But also there’s no guarantee we’d get it back even if we built 2 buildings.
(So is the desire then still to build 2 separate buildings? A STEM science lab building and a new middle school? This seems to be mentioned by both Bob and Randy. Is that the purpose for the inflated building sizes now, to cover that cost and add it in the plan after the bond passes?)
Could we do 2 buildings out of 25000 SF?
No. No, that’s way, way too small.
Biggest thing is the $11.9 million not the $1.78 per thousand, that’s what people look at. What did we pay for the grade school like $6.5 million? And now we’re asking for double that….
Well you can’t compare, that was too long ago, their houses are worth more now, they’re making more money now, the economy is better. They’ll look at what it cost them and if it’s reasonable, they’ll go for it.
Quite sure we won’t have another shot at a bond after this passing for a while. I want a bond big enough to build a new HS and the other needs, this amount seems reasonable. I’d like a bond big enough for a new HS but I don’t feel we can pull that off so I’m comfortable with this.
What’s the sqft used now in the MS?
My size building, that’s under 30,000 and doing the other things too, is quite the improvement.
We need a 20 year master plan to be created for other things.
Yeah like the grade school roof, that won’t make it 20 years. I’m fine with $11.9 million (actually $15.9 million) we can get a lot done and we can show that we’re trustworthy and doing what we said we would. If we go for $8 million, it’s just a little less for the same 20 years and we are not going to pass any other bond during that time and so there’s a lot of things that won’t make it 20 years. What do we do if we don’t get grants?
$11.9 million (actually $15.9 million) goes a long way, I mean we’re not asking what we were, it’s halfway of before but we’re still going to complete a lot of it.
(Halfway? They’d have $15.9 million, $17.4 with the grant, the other bonds were 15, 9.5, and 8 million, that all failed. So how is 15.9 now halfway?)
I think $11.9 million (actually $15.9 million) is a little high but I think that It could work. My concern mostly is that if we go for a lower amount and we only focus on getting just the MS kids out of that school then what does that say for the fire life safety, even seismic safety, all in the other buildings? What does that say if we don’t address it? It’s like one set of kids we only focus on them? I think we need to try and make it fair & equitable across the board, if we can. I think we need to think about that.
With the $11.9 million plus the $4 million matched from the state we can address something in almost every building.
With a good master plan we can know what projects will need to be done (in the future) and we can plan for when to do them and look for grants or ways to fund them (in the future). I think $11.9 million (actually $15.9 million) is reasonable and moves us forward.
Also for a $250,000 house, it will only be about a $37 per month cost to people.
I think $11.9 million (actually $15.9 million) is in the middle so I can support it. Key thing is to get information out and detail out what we think are the critical needs.
These have been critical needs for 4 years, ever since Rommel came out to the facilities. The bonds kept going down with nothing done. These are same original deals it’s not something pulled out of the air.
I made a public comment:
On a funny side note it’s kind of comical as this is the first time in 4 or 5 years I’ve actually agreed with Charlie on a couple things. I absolutely agree that the amount is too high and that you should go for a smaller amount, and I also absolutely agree that you need to decide for sure what you’re doing with that building. I think if you guys just leave it there, that’s a bait and switch just to gain votes from those who don’t want to see it demolished.
I guess my biggest confusion, and concern, with following the bonds over the years is that I believe we have about 3.5 million worth of necessary things to the other buildings without the middle school, that includes the title 9, seismic, bathrooms ADA, commons, and fire suppression in the high school. All that totals about 3.5 million?
I believe that all we need for a new middle school whether it’s renovated or new is 6.5 million that number has been put out in the past bonds, we could easily do a 20,000 sqft building for that.
For me, it’s not about the money, it’s about the size. That’s one thing that has never changed in any of the bond attempts, is the square footage of the building.
I know that you guys have set what you determine to be the “needed square footage” to be, but anyone who spends 10 minutes on Google will find its really a matter of opinion. According to the state of Georgia the recommended classroom size for high school is 600 square foot.
You’re sitting up here saying you want an $11.9 million bond (15.9 total) In my mind you only need about $10 million and then if you take off the $4 million matching funds, you only need to ask for $6 million on a bond. With that you can take care of the needs and the middle school.
You are also not clarifying to me with this $15.9 million, if that’s going to be 42,000 sqft worth of new buildings only, or if that’s going to take care of all the other needs on the campus and a smaller building? Or what combination it may be. I will not support a bond that substantially increases the space on our campus regardless of the price tag. There’s a lot of people in this community who feel that way.
I have here, and printed out copies for some of the new board members who may not remember, the letter that Eric & April Eaton submitted to the board in December of 2014. In that letter he went through the needs of the middle school and how it could be renovated. But, he also clarified that only 29% of the currently used 15,000 SF of that building is actually being used for academic space because of the poor layout so we could do a lot more with less square footage (less then they’re asking for).
For 20,000 sqft you could include:
bathrooms 1600sf 4@ 400
Staff Offices 1500sf (250 ea office)
(Randy, Athletics, counseling, spec Ed, district secretaries (2) )
Main office 1000sf
Staff room 800sf
Student Commons/ library 2000sf
Technology & IT storage 400 sf
2 science labs 1600 sf
8,900 sq feet
9,600 16 classes @ 600sf
———–(400 kids at 25 per class)
18, 500 sq feet
We don’t need anything over a:
***20,000 sq ft school***
That houses 400 kids at 25 per classroom not counting the labs. That all totals 18,900 sqft and that again houses 400 kids, we have 419 there now in the HS. Again for me, it’s about size, I absolutely do not think we need 42,000 sq feet added to this campus.
(Note that there’s currently only 9 classrooms in the building being replaced for one with 16 + 2 science labs. I think that’s plenty of new space.)
So I guess one of the things we need to clarify is we’re not looking at sq footage for classrooms ya know that’s never been the basis that 25,000 sq feet is going to be just classrooms. These are going to be substantially larger classrooms themselves but we’ve got ya know gym space that’s been a need brought up in the community.
But wouldn’t that be covered in the gym project for the $1.4 million?
This happens every time (the interruption by me)
Sorry, I’m just trying to clarify
So ya know I mean there’s other things involved with construction other then just straight up classroom space. We’re looking at mixed use labs, not just for high schoolers, they need to be able to be used all day long. Then we’ve got in there, bathrooms, staff rooms, hallway space, storage, ya know it’s everything. There’s a lot more then what some of what the perception is. We’ve gotta be more clear on that.
Meanwhile I had my hand raised….
Aren’t those other things all adding up to 5 million not 3.5?
It’s actually 6 million
Also that 29% from Eric’s letter, I don’t think that’s correct. It must have been including the basement?
(Actually no, the statement in the letter submitted clarifies its 29% of the space on the main floor only.)
You need to get someone else to donate their time to you to speak.
I just want to clarify to you that my numbers in that 20,000 sq feet did include bathrooms, common space, storage, staff rooms, and offices. It also didn’t count the labs when housing the 400 students, that was in the 16 regular classrooms, with the labs left open. Gym space & locker rooms were covered in the 1.4 of gym project. I just wanted to clarify I was not saying 20,000 SF of just classroom space.
Asks for copies of my documents and Eric’s letter. I passed them out to all board members.
I just want to clarify that I don’t believe that 29% is accurate even if you include the basement there are many spaces in the MS that are counted as classrooms but are offices. All those extra things are not 3.5 million it’s almost 5 million even if you don’t do the transportation.
Can you clarify those costs individually?
Yeah from 2015 soderstrom
$1.5 million for title 9
$3.4 million for Ada, fire life safety, hazardous materials abatement and seismic to old gym & MPB
$4.9 million without district office or relocating transportation, as that’s $1.2 million.
So what buildings is that for? I guess that’s where my confusion is. I have in the past the gym project at 1.4 was seismic & Ada title 9 locker rooms.
HS bathrooms & commons which I believe is your ADA, is about $620k
Seismic on this building (MPB where meetings are) is about 500k and then fire suppression to the HS another 500k.
That’s 3.5 million and everything else is covered in your brand new middle school building?
You missed the title 9
Just the seismic to the gym is 1.4
I thought the past bonds was the “gym complex” that you originally had for 1.4 included all that & locker rooms?
No it was 1.9 for title 9 on top of 1.4 for seismic.
If you add those numbers together you might actually be close with us on the 11.9 million.
That’s possible, I have to go over the old bond numbers. My concern is, you guys need to clarify to me that you are addressing everything on this need list and that your last priority is the square footage of the new building. Because if you tell me you’re not going to do these needed things to the whole campus in favor of 42,000 sq ft of new building, there’s no way in heck I’ll vote for it. That’s just me but I know a lot of others feel the same way.
You can put in a 25000 sqft building and have space to move around in for a reasonable price.
Just a simple cost done at Eric’s request, to simply, remodeling the building was 8 million and that didn’t include Windows and was 2015 prices and only gives us the 15,000 SF. Cost which is now closer to a $10 million cost and you wouldn’t get the other 6 million in campus needs and would still only be at 15,000sf
Just as a point of clarification, I asked the board to consider less money, and through your discussion I believe you’ve done that. I think you’ve identified reasons to go for the higher amount and I am fine with that and I would back the $11.9 million after listening to the reasons for the higher amount. So just to clarify my position on this, I do support the 11.9 million your asking for. Thank you
(Guess he didn’t like the idea that he and I possibly agreed on something? Lol)
So is there any change in verbiage other then what we identified?
Back and forth on wording and lawyers. Save district money vs save tax payers money etc..
I guess my question is What are we going to put out for information? What are we putting out we’re going to do? If we’re picking this we gotta address what we’re putting out. I want to hit the nail on the head.
You mean like other then the voter pamphlet stuff?
Yeah so it needs to be like what Karina said then, clarify the projects….
Yeah on the reader board or however you wanna do it.
(But not in the bond language so they’re not legally bound to do what they say they intend to?)
The reader boards not big enough.
Well maybe we can use Kathryn’s reader board?
So Todd is your question are we going to say now that we are going to tear down the MS and replace it?
Yeah I’m prepared to do it. The other stuff we know what we need. The elephant in the room is that building. While I appreciate the effort that Eric’s put into building his case to renovate that building, it’s not fiscally responsible for us to do it. Sentimentality I get it, but not fiscally. I haven’t seen enough support for renovating other then Eric and a couple other people, to change my mind.
Randy, marguerite, and I, talked about saving things from the old to put into the new like beams and gym floor to bring the past into the new one.
Yeah there’s no reason we couldn’t. I think the big thing is to not make it look like the Grade school, I hate looking at that roof. That’s part of the concern is what it’s going to look like.
I don’t want to make it over simple here but that’s for the architects, that’s not for us to decide.
Back to language, I believe in being transparent and I haven’t heard any support from the board for saving the building, then that needs to be in the language.
Bond language changes to state:
“Bond Proceeds will be used to replace the current middle school building.”
This is a hard vote. We can’t meet the wishes of every opinion in the community. We have to live in Oregon in 2016, we have to do what we can with what we have. I can’t see how we can stretch it based on the realities.
We are doing it for the kids, not for the memories.
The board voted and approved 7 to 0 a bond for $11.9 million dollars, a total of $15.9 with matching state dollars and $17.4 million to spend if a seismic grant is awarded.
The board recessed for a break before continuing the regular meeting and remaining agenda items.
The existing middle school building will be demolished and replaced by a new school of undetermined size. This bond again is very vague in the language as there is no definitive projects guaranteed. “If approved this measure would provide the first phase of funding for capital costs “expected” to address:….” The topics discussed were listed, however, all of the actual “which” projects will actually be done, and “how big or how many” buildings will all be determined after you give them your money. In essence at that point the board can choose to do, or not to do, whichever listed projects they want without any real input from the community.
In my opinion these new size desires expressed are ridiculous, and the amount of money asked for is excessive. (I have nailed down those costs and corrected my errors and will post that separately). These things combined lead me to the conclusion that the intent is still to substantially increase the size of our district campus. Remember we can have up to 400 more students then we have now according to the county. They are also able to ask for an increase to those numbers of allowed students if any renovations or space is added to our facilities.
Many people have the misconception that the bond is solely a “do or don’t” fix our facilities issue, and are ignoring the “what’s actually being asked for” issue. Perhaps that is the defining difference between the supporters and those who continue to vote no.
Another question is, what happens if we build this large scale campus and the bubble pops? It is already starting. (New charters are going in close by, our schools are only ranked “average” in the state of Oregon.) When out of area students do stop coming to Corbett how will we possibly sustain the costs to run this new larger campus? That is the real possibility of us not keeping our community school.
Many of us are not willing to sell out our way of life in order to get the needed repairs done. The district has never once reduced the size of the campus they want to build in any bond attempts, in fact they’ve only increased it. There are many residents who live here for reasons beyond our schools and we want a guarantee, that lifestyle is being preserved.
Perhaps instead of questioning those who don’t support a bond maybe the district administration should be questioned? Isn’t it time they be willing to reach a compromise with their constituents in order to pass a bond and get that building and the campus needs addressed? It’s always the community who needs to give and sacrifice. Why is that? If it really was about safety and doing right by the kids, wouldn’t it make sense to give a little and get it done?
Ask yourself, do you want to build an “attraction” or do you want to build for Corbett?
Please remember that simply not voting equates to a yes vote. I ask each and every one of my fellow Corbett residents to please take the time to read all available information so that you can make an educated, informed decision. Most importantly, please vote!
Here is the part from Eric & April’s letter I referenced and gave to the board members:
Excerpt from Eric & April Eatons’ letter to the board December 2014
REMODEL IS A VIABLE OPTION
Some people have mentioned that they haven’t seen plans for a renovation, just building a new structure. Eric spent time this past spring in a meeting with Eric Stevens, Board Chair Charlie O’Neil and Superintendent Randy Trani to develop a third option that would garner complete board support. This plan involved remodeling the existing building and modifying the existing floor plan to fit our needs. No action was taken by the administration or the board after this meeting.
April was on the initial facilities committee (approximately 60 people) that formed before the first bond. These meetings were attended by Rommel Architectural LLP, a company well versed in new commercial architecture. From the beginning, it should have been crucial to have 2 different professional points of view on what to do with the Corbett Middle School. One experienced with new construction and one experienced with renovation of older buildings. Both accomplish the same goal of a safer building. It would have generated a lot more information for the committee to make a solid recommendation to the board. We think over half of the original people gave up attending these meetings because they did not feel heard.
The estimate to renovate the Corbett Middle School made it appear an unwise choice. Let’s review some of the issues with Rommel’s quote to renovate:
There was a large 30% contingency built into the remodel quote, well beyond the normal 10%.
Rommel Architecture claimed that most of the interior walls of the Corbett Middle School could not be moved, this simply is not true.
Rommel’s plans (dated 3/19/13) include reinforcing (thickening) every single wall in the Corbett Middle School including non-weight bearing ones, this is unnecessary and grossly inflates the amount of space eaten up by seismic improvements.
These misconceptions are some of the main reasons the facilities committee decided that building new was the best option.
What About Those Major Problems?
Renovating seems like a win-win situation and an easy way to satisfy a large number of people. The building could continue to be useful for many years and it would be structurally sound. Let’s look at some of the most important issues to the daily life of students and teachers in the Corbett Middle School:
Plumbing is a major issue. Is it difficult to replace and expensive? No, the plumbing is not difficult to replace. It is easily accessed from the basement and cheaper when coordinated with other trade work. It is also an opportune time to design a new plumbing system with additional restrooms.
The asbestos is a high priority concern, what do we do about it? Most of the asbestos in the building is around the plumbing and mechanical systems, which need to be removed and replaced anyway. There are professional companies that specialize in asbestos abatement and they use state of the art procedures to make sure that the air quality after abatement is fresh and healthy.
What about the electrical and technological needs of the students? Re-wiring is a basic task, especially when the walls are opened up for other work. Any new floor plan will incorporate new efficient lighting with modern fixtures, emergency lighting, properly grounded outlets and provisions for technology with future expansion.
What do we do about the basement? We agree that the basement is a terrible place for students, but a wonderful place to locate all of the mechanical, plumbing and electrical needs a modern school requires. We could do away with antiquated radiators and provide students with healthy, filtered, conditioned heat incorporating independent zones to each classroom. Teachers could even control the temperature of each classroom with their smart phone.
What about seismic upgrades? The basement foundation walls and main floor walls can be reinforced with modern construction practices such as spray applied high strength concrete, shear walls or steel moment frames. Think about how many older multi-story buildings in Portland have been saved and improved with these systems, for example, the Ecotrust building in NW Portland. Renovation was chosen in many cases because it was faster, cheaper and more environmentally sound. Corbett Middle School’s seismic improvements are a lot easier to accomplish than the multi-story one described above. Corbett Middle School is one story tall and extremely wide in proportion to its height, both of these features simplify the construction and reduce the cost.
What about fire and life safety? Fire suppression is very important to all of us. Most of the basement is used for storage with no fire protection. Fire is far more likely to destroy the building and hurt the kids than a large earthquake. The school was nearly lost once before in a basement fire. A fire sprinkler system is simple to install and affordable due to the size of the school and its proximity to the massive water main along the Historic Highway. Secondary exits throughout the school should also be installed.
No one has ever proposed a new floor plan for the Corbett Middle School. We are not sure why. Decades of poorly planned remodels have turned a once charming building into a twisted mess. Many walls in the building can be relocated or removed giving us lots of space and creating a more user friendly and safer environment. Teachers can coordinate with an architect to organize space in the Corbett Middle School to fit their needs. Let’s look at how the current Corbett Middle School is organized:
Only 29% of the total square footage of the main floor is used for traditional classroom space.
Many converted office spaces are used for administration and special needs students. Some of these rooms are too big and others are too small.
Confusing hallways, restrooms and undersized common area make up the balance.
What does this mean? It means that the school’s inefficient layout diminishes the classroom space to roughly 4,700 square feet of the 15,200 on the main level. Surely we can develop a new floor plan to meet our needs with the space we have.
But We Want a Beautiful, New School We Can Be Proud Of!
YES, RENOVATING CAN GIVE US A BRIGHT, SHINY SCHOOL! For those who think a renovation is simply changing out the carpet and fixing the plumbing, we want to be clear that a renovation means new everything: new finishes and fixtures, new plumbing and electrical, new windows, more natural light, larger spaces and more efficiently placed hallways.
How Much Is This Going To Cost?
If we assume that the school has about 15,200 square feet on the main floor and if we multiply that by $300 per square foot (average cost) for a remodel we get $4,560,000.
If we include the basement in our calculation, $75 per sf, we end up with a total construction budget of $5,700,000 plus 10% for contingency and it ends up being $6,270,000.
This is a very well finished building, much nicer than any structure currently on campus. Yes, renovating can be the same price, on a per square foot basis, than a new building, but we are left with a beautiful, historic building we can be proud of. Why build a cookie cutter, cheap, antiseptic school that is constructed like all of the others? Corbett is a unique school district and our buildings should reflect that. Please help us make our school last another 100 years, not the 50 year expected life of a new school!