Sutherlin School District’s school board has been meeting in work sessions since July to address ongoing facility concerns in the district.
The school board hired Brian Prawitz as a work session facilitator and received a schematic from Soderstrom Architects for a new elementary school.
Sutherlin School District Superintendent Terry Prestianni said no decisions have been made on whether to go for a bond measure, although minutes from the work sessions show it has been a topic of discussion.
“We’re putting in a concerted effort to answer questions people had after the first bond levy,” Prestianni said.
In May 2018, voters in Sutherlin rejected a measure that would have provided the district with $42.5 million to replace West Intermediate School, improve security and provide structural updates.
“The facilities assessment completed several years ago indicated needed repairs and alterations at West Intermediate School would not be cost effective, and still would not meet the safety and security needs of our students,” Prestianni said.
At the start of the 2019-2020 school year, Sutherlin School District reorganized where students attended school, with students from preschool through second grade now attending East Primary School, third through fifth grade at West Intermediate School, sixth through eighth grade at Sutherlin Middle School and ninth through 12th grade at Sutherlin High School.
Prestianni noted the reorganization was in response to changing demographics along with increased enrollment at lower grade levels.
“The 2018 bond measure would have addressed these issues as well as others in the district,” he said.
A schematic for a 50,413-square-foot elementary school building that would hold 420 students — created by Soderstrom Architects, and presented by Prestianni during a recent work session — is estimated to cost just more than $27 million.
A bond rate of $1.73 per $1,000 in assessed value for 30 years would bring $28 million to the district, according to district documents.
“This is a starting point for discussion only,” Prestianni said. “The board is weighing several factors in this process. If the board decides to go out to the public, and ask them for their support, our job is to provide the best return for the taxpayer dollars and to make sure they understand exactly what they would be getting for the rate we settle on. But at this time, nothing has been decided.”
Another work session has been scheduled for Oct. 7.
Prestianni identified replacing fire alarms, replacing intercoms, installing security cameras, fencing and replacing windows at the middle school; replacing siding and roofing at East Primary School; replacing modular units at the high school; enlarging the parking lot at the bus barn; resurfacing parking lots; and rebuilding and resurfacing a track as other items on the maintenance priority list.
Prestianni met with Winston-Dillard School District Superintendent Kevin Miller to discuss how to introduce a bond levy to the community. Winston-Dillard was successful in its May 2019 effort for a $16 million general obligation bond.
Winston-Dillard School District used Brian Prawitz to help strategize. His company, BP Media, is also contracted to help Roseburg Public Schools to get information out to the public about its May 2020 bond measure.
Prestianni reported during the Aug. 19 work session that a consulting contract had been signed with Prawitz.
Prawitz advised the Sutherlin school board that polling, flyers, social media, a dedicated political action committee, canvassing, phone calls and a concerted effort in the final days helped pass the bond for Winston-Dillard.
School board members told Prawitz the main concern remains West Intermediate School.
Prestianni and board chair JR Guthrie met with officials from the City of Sutherlin to discuss other optional sites to build a school, as well as cooperation in building fields, parks and recreational options on its Waite Street property.
The next school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Oct. 21. There will be time set aside for citizen participation at the meeting.