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.