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.
Last night, August 15, 2016, the school board accepted the resignation of Dr. Sally Storm for health-related reasons. We wish to convey to her our appreciation for her work with the District these past two years.
In order to move forward with the school year, Mr. Gary Carpenter was designated our Interim Superintendent to carry out the responsibilities of the position through June 30, 2017. He will remain the High School Principal as well.
Elevated levels of lead in school drinking water is making headlines in both local and national news. Effected school districts are frantically working to test their facilities and make corrections in response to the public’s outcry. But not here at Fern Ridge! For more than a decade the District has operated our water systems under the watchful eye of the Department of Human Services in their Drinking Water Program. All facilities whose water comes from District owned water sources, are on a set schedule for lead testing. A certified testing lab is provided samples from sinks and drinking fountains accessible to students and staff. Those results are sent to both the District and responsible State agency for verification of compliance. No elevated levels of lead are present in our systems.
To assure this trend continues, daily pH levels are monitored so heavy metals do not have a chance to leach into our systems. The only exception to this is Veneta Elementary School, whose water is provided by the city-wide system. Lead testing in that system is performed by the City of Veneta itself and reported to their governing agency. Recently, the Superintendent directed the maintenance staff to conduct independent testing of Veneta Elementary School’s drinking water. No elevated lead levels were found. All test results are public record and are available by contacting the District.
Fern Ridge Middle School is proud to be back to back Oregon Battle of the Books (OBOB) State Champions. Nice job Josiah Lorenz, Emily Eagle Eye, Jessica Woods, and Zola Walker. If you do not know about OBOB, it is a competition where students read 16 books in great detail and then have a competitions on their recall of specific details on each book. A special thank you to Mrs. Sherry Cooper for coaching this team and organizing the OBOB school competition.
The State released Graduation Rate data today, and EHS did fantastic! Big kudos to not only the EHS staff, but to all staff in the FRSD K-12 that play a role in graduating students. The article that was published in the Register Guard on this topic, can be confusing. The Register Guard breaks out the 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate data by schools for the larger districts (Churchill, Sheldon, Springfield, etc…). However, for smaller Districts they often just list the rate for the entire District. The rate for the FRSD (that takes into account all High Schools in the District – EHS and WLTLC) was 71.6% for the 4-year cohort rate, while the State average was 73.8%. However, the 4-year Cohort Graduation Rate for EHS was 89.83%. The only High School in Lane County that is our size or larger (4A) that we aware of that beat that, was South Eugene High School at 90.82%. Way to go EHS! You can see all of the State Graduation Rate data by following this link.
Bus #1 was rear-ended on Hwy 126 at mile post 28.5 this afternoon. The bus driver was the only person on the school bus at the time of the accident. Emergency personnel responded to the accident. There were no injuries. The driver of the other vehicle was cited by law enforcement personnel.
The Oregon State Legislators made changes to student immunizations with a religious exemption in Senate Bill 895. Students who currently have a religious exemption on file will need to complete new documentation of immunizations, a medical exemption or a non-medical exemption. Please click here for more information.
Fern Ridge School District wants parents to know that we find the transportation problems which have occurred so far this year completely unacceptable. We have talked with First Student that things need to improve quickly. We apologize to all of our students and parents for the unprofessional way our students’ transportation needs have been handled. Please know that we are doing everything we can to change the situation. If you have further concerns, please contact Quanah Bennett, Business Manager at 541-935-2253 ext. 1202 or email@example.com. Thank you. – Dr. Sally Storm, Superintendent
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.