Central Oregon’s recent ice storms caused damage to Crook County schools earlier this month. The impacts were significant enough to convince the school board to approve placing an $11 million bond measure on the May ballot to address them.
“We’ve got a couple of schools, Crook County Middle School, especially, and Crooked River Elementary School have roofs that have essentially aged out. So every year when there’s snow and ice that melts, and then when it rains, we often have leaks.” Communications Director for Crook County School District Jason Carr said.
One extreme situation occurred in the Crook County Middle School gym, where water poured in from the roof. Other issues include leaks in the attics, pipes and water damage to the walls.
“The recent winter storm we had in January kind of created some water issues and damage that made a situation where the school board recognized that we probably need to make some fixes sooner rather than later,” Carr said.
If passed, the bond would also cover much needed upgrades to aging equipment and school roofs. Crook County Middle School has a 75-year-old boiler system that hasn’t been replaced since the school was built in the early 1950s.
“They’re not nearly as efficient as all the new boiler systems are. Right now they’re running well, periodically we’ll have one break down over time. Put one or two of them out of service sometimes. We maintain them as best we can,” Leland Bliss with Crook County School District Facilities said.
If passed, the bond would generate a total of $17 million, thanks to a $6 million matching grant through the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program. However, those funds are only guaranteed if voters approve the school bond measure.
Here’s a complete breakdown of how the bond money would be allocated if passed:
- $11.5 million – Replace roofs at Crooked River Elementary, Crook County Middle School, Steins Pillar Elementary campus and gym, the district’s maintenance building, and Paulina K-8 School.
- $5 million – Upgrade the 75-year-old boiler system at Crook County Middle School
- $200,000 – Improve security at Crook County High School
- $100,000 – Security and PA System upgrades at Steins Pillar Elementary School
- $100,000 – Additional security upgrades in other schools