Parking lots and bus loops at Elmira Elementary (EES), Veneta Elementary (VES) and Elmira High School (EHS) posed challenges the first few days of the school year. However, due to planning, coordination and the patience of our parents and students, I am confident the worst of the congestion is over. The schools all appreciate the patience of our parents when visiting one of the sites under construction (especially at EES and EHS), where a simple trip to the office can be somewhat of an adventure. The next challenge in regards to parking lots will be at Elmira Elementary School when demolition of the current school begins. The families of EES should stay tuned for what that plan will look like as we will begin communicating it prior to the holiday break in December.
All of the projects continue to be progressing nicely, and are on schedule for completion. One project that has begun since the last update in August is the project at the District office. This building is getting much needed repairs that will extend its life with new siding and roofing. In addition, there will be new ADA access ramps as well as a new septic drain field.
The two sites that remain under heavy construction are EHS and EES. At EHS, the gym construction remains on track to be finished prior to the holiday break. The girl’s locker room is completed with only some final cosmetic work remaining. The fire suppression systems throughout the remodel area are done and provide additional student and public safety. The new lobby recently had its concrete slab poured and framing is now beginning in that area.
At EES we remain on track to move into the building over the holiday break. The District is currently working on a plan that will allow that to occur in a way that makes the transition smooth for students, and as simple for staff as we can possibly make it. While there is no easy way to make a move like this in such a short timeframe, we are confident we can minimize the stress on staff and students by beginning to plan early during this challenge. Within the building, the contractors are currently in the interior finish phase of the project with cabinets and flooring being installed and painting being completed. On the exterior, siding and hardscape around the building are in the final stages of completion.
The Fern Ridge School District provides a monthly update on the progress of the work funded by the $26.7 million bond approved by voters in May 2014, published on the fourth Wednesday of each month. For more information about bond activities, visit the District’s website at www.fernridge.k12.or.us/bond, or call the District Office at 541-935-2253.
One of the first things tasks I wanted to complete in my new position as FRSD Superintendent was to assess the bond promises made to the voters of the District, and ensure our progress was in line with meeting those commitments. I am happy to say I am confident that all bond promises at all buildings will be met. In addition, while we are unsure of the exact amount, there will be at least some additional monies left unencumbered. The School Board will have future discussions in regards to its best use. The sole use of any remaining dollars will be for capital improvement projects only. Those that fit with the criteria of the bond, taking highest priority: Safety, Technology, Critical Capital repairs, and maintaining a sound educational environment.
Before I give a brief update on each site, I wanted to take a minute to thank the Fern Ridge School District Maintenance and Facilities staff. Michael Bateman and Michael Biehler (Technology), Greg Baker (Facilities), Jeff Thiessen and David Johnson (Grounds and Maintenance) as well as many others, have been in countless long days this summer to ensure the complications and challenges that arise with projects such as this are met and overcome. They have done a fantastic job! In addition, the District has worked with three different General Contractors so far: Hyland Construction, GBC Construction and LCG Pence. All three have performed admirably, worked with the District well, and have been good partners in the stewardship of our tax dollars.
Veneta Elementary School – Except for some warranty and product issues that are being solved, the building work at Veneta is complete. Just this last week the second phase of the project (the parking lot loop) was completed, as well as a Holiday Tree Lighting Plaza and performance area. This area was partially funded by the City of Veneta through a partnership and should be a great community resource in the years to come. The building has new key-card access as well as security cameras. New Audio/Visual equipment is located throughout the building and will be coming on-line the first few weeks of school. Sometime in the next 4-6 weeks I will be coordinating an evening community tour of both VES and FRMS for any community member. This will be a great opportunity for those that haven’t yet had a chance to see the changes, to get a first-hand look at these fantastic new community resources.
Fern Ridge Middle School –The Fern Ridge Middle School project is also complete. There are some minor fixes and corrections being made, but for the most part, the project is finished. Key Card access, security cameras and Audio/Visual throughout will be coming on-line at FRMS in the first weeks of school. At both FRMS and VES we are currently in the process of gathering quotes for a “blending” of the exteriors of those buildings with the end result being a more seamless appearance and transition between the new sections of the building and the older. Once this is complete it should really create a “completed” look in the front of these two facilities.
Elmira Elementary –The EES project, the largest one in the District, has hit all of its target dates and is currently on track to have staff and students move in over the December Holiday break. As soon as the move into the new building is completed, the old school will be demolished and construction of the parent parking area and a new “play field” will begin.
Elmira High School – Some projects at the high school such as replacing the siding on the old gym complex, and the re-roofing of two areas that were in need of repair have been completed. The girl’s locker room renovation is nearly complete and the District is expected to take occupancy of that space before school starts. The main project of a new gym, lobby/entrance to the school is scheduled to be complete prior to Winter Break. We are excited about the improvements this project will bring to our students and the community.
As school starts, please be aware of the changes and construction activity the school sites. Your patience is appreciated as we continue to problem solve what will work best. This is especially true at EES and EHS where major construction is still occurring and alternate plans have had to be made in regards to office access, parking, bus drop-off/pick-up and parent drop/off pick-up.
Please join the Elmira Elementary School staff, parents,and students for the Groundbreaking Ceremony for their new school on September 17, 2015 at 5:00 p.m. There will be pizza, a magician, some students reading their essays about why they are happy about their new school, and a few shovelfuls of dirt! Hope to see you there!!!
Fern Ridge Middle School:
After nine weeks of construction, the project is taking shape and on track for the students return on September 8th. With most of the drywall work behind us, and the paint and ceiling work progressing, the school is starting to look like what the final product will be. The creation of the media center will enhance the students learning environment, while moving the administration area to the front of the building will increase safety, building functionality, and add new look to the main entry. All summer school projects have hurdles to overcome, and the general contractor, John Hyland Construction, has met these challenges head on and kept us on schedule.
Veneta Elementary School:
Veneta Elementary is undergoing a large renovation and addition project that will last until the winter break. There have been challenges to face for LCG Pence, the general contractor, but they have been met with the experience and knowledge we have come to expect. The largest hurdle was an unforeseen condition where the new commons will be built, where it appeared that reminisce of an old fire had been buried. Now excavated and back on track, the commons footings are beginning to take shape. On the other side of the school, the new 7 classroom wing is moving forward, as the new CMU walls are being erected. Inside the existing building, the remodel to the administration area and library are starting to see their finishes of paint and ceilings, and are on schedule to be ready for opening day.
Elmira Elementary School:
Since making the decision to move the new building out the footprint of the existing school, the design team has been busy making the necessary improvements to alter the project from a partial renovation, to a standalone building. The new site location in the southwest corner of the property has been selected, and construction of the site and utilities is slated to begin late summer/early fall of this year, with construction of the new building by fall/winter 2016. The most significant aspect of the new plan is that there is no impact to student safety or learning during construction, since the existing building will remain intact until construction of the new is complete.
Elmira High School:
The new auxiliary gymnasium and Title IX improvements for the high school are still in the conceptual design phase. With construction slated to begin summer of 2016, this project has the most development work of them all to get through. Locations for where the gym should be built, the entrance to the school and the improvements to the girl’s locker and team rooms are still in the design phase. We look forward to seeing how these designs develop and making information available as this project grows.
The start of summer has signaled a huge amount of work throughout the Fern Ridge School District, thanks to the $26.7 million bond measure approved by voters in May 2014. Below are some of the projects now underway:
Veneta Elementary School is undergoing a transformation focused on safety and meeting needs due to growth. Classrooms are being added to the north side of the building and a new commons and kitchen are being added adjacent to the gymnasium. Getting out of remote portables, separating the bus loop from the parking lot, enclosing the library, and reconfiguring the office to face the street will also improve safety at the school.
Fern Ridge Middle School is undergoing an interior transformation as areas inside of the building are being reconfigured to better meet the needs of students and programs. The main office is being relocated to the west side of the building and will face the parking lot to provide better supervision and security, and the classrooms being displaced by this move are being relocated to where the main office used to be. In addition, the library will be enclosed to create a more suitable environment for learning.
For more information about bond activities, click here.
A ground breaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction at Veneta Elementary School will take place on Tuesday, June 9th at 12:30 pm. The building’s contractor, architects, elected officials, staff and students will help mark the start of construction. After the dirt has been ceremonially turned, the big equipment will be ready to move in and start construction of the renovations and new additions.
The District’s number one goal during construction is to maintain the safety of the public, students, staff, and the construction crews. As such, the building’s contractor will have dedicated access to the north portion of the property and the south portion of the parking lot starting June 15th. Temporary chain link fence will be installed in those areas to prevent any interaction between construction traffic and non-construction traffic. The south portion of the parking lot will be turned back over to the District prior to school starting in September, but the north portion of the property will remain closed until the classroom addition is completed in December.
To Fern Ridge Community Members and Staff:
We have some very exciting news we want to share with parents and patrons of Fern Ridge School District. The news concerns an improvement in our bond project at Elmira Elementary School.
We are holding an informational meeting at Elmira Elementary School on Tuesday, April 28th at 6:30 p.m. Our Construction Project Manager, Lee Zumwalt, from LCG Pence Construction, and our Owner’s Representative, Rick Rainone, from Cornerstone Management Group will be on hand to share the good news. We hope you will be able to attend!
– Sally J. Storm, Ph.D., Superintendent and FRSD Board of Directors
LCG Pence Construction of Salem, OR has been awarded the contract to provide Construction Manager / General Contractor (CMGC) services for the construction projects at Elmira Elementary and Veneta Elementary. The District received proposals from six firms, which were evaluated by District staff and members of the Citizens Oversight Committee. Ground breaking for the projects will take place in late spring 2015. For more information about the bond projects, click here.
Reminder – “The District-Wide Sustainability Workshop – How green do we want to be?” is scheduled for this evening, Wednesday, November 12th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the District Administration Office Board Room. Hope to see you there!!!
The Fern Ridge School District is progressing through the design process and would like input from our community at any of three different forums:
Veneta Elementary School Additions & Renovations
Community Share Meeting – Monday, November 10, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, District Office Board Room
District-Wide Sustainability Workshop – How Green Do We Want To Be? – Wednesday, November 12, 6:30 – 7:30 pm, District Office Board Room