CSD Bond Program Reaches Important Milestone

The final contract for the Harding Center/College Hill project was approved by the Corvallis School Board this month, marking a key milestone for the district. While work will continue throughout the district well into 2023, all bond projects are now under contract, all bond pledges have been met, and the projects will be finished within the budgetary constraints.  

The 2018 Facilities Bond included the construction of two new elementary schools to replace Lincoln and Bessie Coleman Elementary Schools, the replacement of 21 modular classrooms with permanent classroom facilities across the district’s elementary schools, the addition of multi-purpose dining commons at four elementary schools, district-wide capital repairs, safety upgrades, and the modernization of teaching spaces and middle and high school career and technical education facilities.  

The construction project manager, Wenaha Group, was hired in July 2018 to work directly with district administration and offer experienced, on-site employees. Starting with the architect selection process in July 2019, they have been a key partner in enabling inclusive and collaborative community involvement. Architects, numerous building contractors, solar installation, some new furniture, and movement coordination were all part of the effort at 15 project locations. The District is now in the home stretch of completing the bond pledges made to voters in May 2018, with more than two dozen major projects completed — phased to minimize interruption to school operations. 

Since 2018, transparency has been offered via monthly reporting to the school board and a community-based Bond Oversight Committee. To gather feedback and provide information, a number of school and neighborhood information sessions have been organized. A total of $60 million in bond premiums, grants, energy efficiency incentives, and other sources have been carefully monitored and managed to ensure that all projects are finished, and bond obligations are honored, in addition to the voter-approved $200 bond. 

The bond program team, which includes district officials, consultants, and contractors, has been very careful in their outreach efforts to involve Corvallis’ culturally and linguistically diverse community in the planning and design process. The District also incorporated sustainability principles into the design process, resulting in technical sustainable design criteria for energy efficiency, water utilization, air quality, and material selection. 

The District’s constant dedication to diversity and inclusion in the design process, as well as the level of community and student engagement in this effort, are highlights of the bond program. The COVID-19 epidemic, unprecedented inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain delays were among the key hurdles overcome. Within our school communities, these issues have necessitated a great deal of flexibility, creative problem-solving, cooperation, and adaptation. 

Kim Patten, Director of Facilities, is pleased to have reached this milestone in the bond program. “Planning and decisions have been made with the District’s core values at the forefront. It might have been easier to take the path of least resistance in some moments. Still, we have remained committed to engaging with our community, especially those who don’t always have a seat at the table, to understand concerns and diverse perspectives. We are so grateful for the trust and partnership we have with our community,” said Patten.   

The Bond Oversight Committee meets monthly with staff liaisons to actively monitor the bond and stay abreast of key information related to the bond to ensure transparency to community stakeholders. The committee will meet for their final meeting of the 2021-22 school year on Monday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Crescent Valley High School. Members of the public who are interested in observing the meeting are asked to contact Jessica Kinsey at jessica.kinsey@corvallis.k12.or.us by 12:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. 

Information about this committee and meeting notes are available on the Bond Oversight Committee webpage. Questions about the bond program and specific projects may be directed to Facilities and Transportation Director Kim Patten at 541-757-5877. 

By Lisa Hernandez