JUNCTION CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS WORK SESSION

April 19, 2007

 

MINUTES

 

Board of Directors

 

Administrators

Randy Trummer, Vice-Chair

Denise Pratt

Mike Tucker

Judy Croce

Mike Brotherton

Jacque Gerdes

 

Kathleen Rodden-Nord, Superintendent

Kathryn Hedrick, High School Principal

Malcom McRae, High School Assistant Principal

Tom Endersby, Oaklea Principal

 

 

 

 

Staff

Staff

 

Staff and Others

Stephanie White

Jill Case

Chris Meyer

 

Tri-County News

Chuck Cole

Ed Rogers

 

 

 

 

Chris – Another thing that was in your packet today is a list of property that we actually own. It took a little time to look it up because some parcels weren’t under our address and there were multiple tax ID numbers. The property must have been divided up into different parcels. Laurel has three parcels at 10.1 acres, 5.5 acres, and 7.8 acres; this includes the Laurel ball fields. There is a total of about 23.4 acres. Territorial has two parcels at 26.3 acres and 2.2 acres for a total of 28.5 acres. Vice-Chair Trummer – How much of that is wooded? Chris – I would guess about 50% is timber and growth. Jill – We did look at logging the area up at Territorial and it was decided that it wouldn’t be beneficial. Chris – So much of that is new growth and it wouldn’t be beneficial to log it at this time. The high school has two parcels, one is 18.33 acres and the other is 17 acres, for a total of 35.33 acres. Oaklea has one parcel at 11.88 acres.

 

Chris – Stephanie will be handing out the results of the staff survey that was done this past month. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – One of the things that was expressed by a staff member at the high school, and I think this person was speaking for a number of staff members, was a concern for student and staff safety and security because of the number of entry points and unsupervised spaces throughout the buildings. This concern was primarily for the east wing, but I think a lot of the same things could be said for the west wing as well. Mike Tucker – We addressed that a little bit by changing the locks on the doors so that they could be locked from the inside, right? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – We addressed the issue by changing the locks so that if there were a lockdown, anybody with a key, anywhere in the building, could go inside a room and secure it from the inside. What we haven’t done and haven’t figured out a practical way to do is to say there is only one way in and out of each of the high school buildings and that it is monitored and supervised because we have kids that are passing between the wings and it just isn’t very practical to say that all the doors are locked and you have to come all the way around the building to get into the one door that is unlocked. Jacque – Kids will just open the door and let others in anyway. What do some of the larger school districts do? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I don’t know, Jacque. I am sure there is concern all over the country. Judy – I know of a school in Stockton where the whole school is fenced in and there is only one entry point through the fence. Chris – That is what a lot of schools are doing, everything is fenced in. We have fences but they are all used to keep vehicles out. The other big issue was Territorial where there are four classrooms that are only accessible from the outside; you have to go outside to get in and out of the classrooms. They don’t have breezeways. Denise – How do we go about prioritizing the list of things that need to be done? Chris – One of the steps was to do the survey of staff at each school to find out how well the teachers and staff feel that the complex they are now working in, actually works. A lot of the responses had the same concerns within their schools. The heating and cooling at Oaklea has been a concern ever since it was installed. It was supposed to be a state-of-the-art design when it was put together and the staff has never been comfortable over there. The problem with the heating and cooling system at Oaklea is that it is either in heating mode or cooling mode, you can’t have it heating in one room while it is cooling in another. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – The other thing that you find with Oaklea’s system is there are hot spots and cold spots around the building. Chris – Air quality has also been an issue around the district as well. Vice-Chair Trummer – Is that characteristic of having a single-centralized system in contrast to the dozens of heat pumps throughout the high school? Or is there a happy medium somewhere? Chris – There are a lot less moving parts in the system at Oaklea than the multiple systems at the high school, but your comfort level in each classroom at Oaklea is different and can’t be adjusted per classroom like it can at the high school. Vice-Chair Trummer – Even though it isn’t as functional, what is it like as far as costs? Chris – When they decided to go with all the heat pumps they did different analyses, from what I understand, and because of the geothermal system that we went to, it’s one of the most efficient systems available. The cost ratio at that time was better than was expected for that size of building based on the single-paned windows and the lack of insulation. It probably works a lot better, with these old buildings, having the separate systems so you can keep different rooms warm versus having to warm the whole building. One of the things that they said we needed to do was get a survey from the staff and find out what works and what doesn’t work, and that is what we did. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – Another thing that we are waiting for, as is every other district in Oregon, is the state initiated a seismic safety survey last year and over this last summer the state sent people around to do an exterior visual inspection of all district facilities. We are now waiting for the information back on their visual inspection, but the state is waiting to release all results at the same time. We are being told that we can expect the results by the end of May. Vice-Chair Trummer – What is this for? Chris – Earthquake analysis. Vice-Chair Trummer – Are we expecting it to give us some sort of idea of the seismic readiness of our buildings? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I think they will probably give us some information back that states which buildings look like they can withstand an earthquake of ‘x’ magnitude. It will be interesting to see what we actually get back. Chris – They stress that it is just visual. Then there will be some loans that will be available to a certain amount to do some of the work based on what this report says. Mike Tucker – What school would you say is the biggest concern, or takes the most amount of your time, or needs the most maintenance? Chris – The high school for sure because of the amount of buildings, there is an awful lot of outdoor yard maintenance in keeping all of the fields up for all of the sporting events that happen on an almost daily basis. Mike Tucker – So you should have an idea, at least mechanically, of what you would suggest are things that need to be dealt with first? Chris – I do have a list for each building of the main concerns at this point.

 

Chris – Another thing I wanted to go over is the sheet that says ‘Square Footage of JCSD Facilities’, and attached to that is the 2007 Construction Report that was in one of the magazines that I receive on a monthly basis, ‘School Planning and Management’. Page C-5 shows the profile of new schools currently underway, with the dollar per square foot, dollar per student, and square foot per student. I used the national median square footage number to figure out what the ideal square footage of our facilities should be using the average enrollment numbers from 2005-06.

 

Laurel Elementary School             Territorial Elementary School    

Total Sq. Ft.:          53,100       Total Sq. Ft.:         15,300

**Average # of Students:      555       **Average # of Students:     140

*Median Sq. Ft. per Student:      122.2       *Median Sq. Ft. per Student:     122.2

555 x 122.2     =      67,821       140 x 122.2     =     17,108

 

Oaklea Middle School            Junction City High School      

Total Sq. Ft.:         84,700       Total Sq. Ft.:          211,900

**Average # of Students:     511       **Average # of Students:     622

*Median Sq. Ft. per Student:     143.8       *Median Sq. Ft. per Student:     166.7

511 x 143.8     =     73,482       622 x 166.7     =     103,687

 

 

Chris – In looking at the numbers we have, Laurel is considerably undersized for the number of students we have there. Territorial is a little bit undersized as well. Both Oaklea and the high school are both ok in terms of square footage. The square footage at the high school is so spread out over the entire campus, there is a lot of it that isn’t used, or isn’t utilized as well as it should be, or is just plain unusable.

 

Chris – In 1972 there was a master plan that was drawn up by an architectural firm for Junction City, and then another one drawn up in 1978. The one in 1978 stated that, ‘an earlier study done in 1972 revealed that the east wing could not easily be added to, and further the facility is in need of extensive corrective work relating primarily to fire and life safety, handicapped access requirements, and a multitude of items related to rising maintenance and energy costs due largely to the age of the structure. Now that this wing is being used in conjunction with the west wing to form one big campus there are new problems of circulation and efficient land use. This firm’s estimate in 1972 was that it would cost as much to extensively remodel the east wing facility as it would be to build a new facility for the same use. For this reason we have assumed, for this study, that the east wing would eventually be phased out.’ So, back in 1978 they were talking about how the east wing was outdated then and really wasn’t something that was expected to be used in the near future. Jill – In the last bond issue we added the science room and then converted and added this whole district office area, which was in about 1995. Chris – Then in 2000 we added the LCC center on the opposite end. A lot of this information varies at different times because of what the community wants and will go for at any given time. Mike Brotherton – It seems like we bounce around a little bit, and I am having a hard time grasping what the goal is. At times we are talking about maintenance issues and other times it is different studies for enrollment forecasting, new facilities, or renovating facilities. At a board meeting a couple times past it seemed as though the goal was to build new schools, and I am not necessarily opposed to that, but then other times we are talking about some kind of maintenance, and then renovating the buildings. I guess I would like a clarification on what direction we are headed in. Is it our goal to work toward building new facilities as opposed to assessing and building a maintenance plan? Because sometimes the discussions sound like what we are doing is prioritizing some type of maintenance plan. I guess I am just trying to grasp what it is that we are trying to do. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I think it is both. As far as the short-term: what are the impending maintenance needs? I think it is also wanting to look down the road and ask, how well are our current facilities meeting our needs right now? How well do we anticipate that our current facilities, as they are today, meet our needs five years from now? At some point we probably even need to become more future orientated than that because if we don’t start thinking about it now it will be another five years down the road and we will be having the same conversations. We need to look at what is not working right now, that we need to fix and address through the maintenance budget. Then we need to look through a wider lens at what is working for us instructionally with respect to energy issues, security issues, or student health and safety issues, and then I think once we have a handle on that we would perhaps move into a different strand of whether or not the magnitude of what those deficits are, are so great that we need to start talking to our community about it. Mike Brotherton – We have talked a bit about this type of issue and I see it as two separate things: ongoing maintenance, and then the long-term care / new building / renovating. You can try to convince me that the buildings are bad buildings, but in truth they functions just fine; they are doing everything they did when they were originally built, but technology is different and the programs are different. Whether or not the buildings are falling down around us, the very fact that the technology, the life that we live now, is so radically different, that in itself can be a reason to replace the buildings. It has nothing to do with the heating systems and the pipes. If we go down a road where we talk about the pipes being rusted, asbestos in the floors, and we basically take the crutch that we are going to badmouth the buildings to the point where we are going to convince the community that we have to replace the buildings, if we go up for a bond issue and it doesn’t pass then what you have is you have everyone convinced that their children are attending school in a death-trap, and you have created a monster, when the monster wasn’t there to start with. It really looks like there are two issues. One, the underlying maintenance to keep what we have operating until such a time where we can replace them; and two, technology is ever continuing and at some point we are going to have to replace the buildings; and we are talking about a path that is years long. It seems as though our conversations wobble back and forth between the maintenance and rebuilding and I have a hard time understanding what direction we are going in because they tend to overlap. Vice-Chair Trummer – I thought about it from a little different angle last night and then again this afternoon and I know what you are talking about, Mike. It’s not two separate conversations, or paths; it’s the same path but it’s the range that we are talking about. Are we talking about a 3-4 year range? Or are we talking about a 15-20 year range? I think that is what we are jumping back and forth from. I see us collecting information at this point about four different areas:

 

Financial – This would include things like structural issues;

Programmatic – This would include the functionality and the safety issues;

Enrollment – This would include any adjustments to buildings to help accommodate the number of students we have; which speaks to the population study;

Urban Growth Impact – This really comes down to what are the external pressures that we get as a result of something like a hospital or prison.

 

This is a ‘down the road’ view and I agree with Mike that we are jumping back and forth between the short-term view and the long-term view. Mike Brotherton – We need to come up with a goal. That goal could say that we have a 10-year plan, and in 10 years we are going to build new schools; we are going to plan it, we are going to build the structures for it, we are going to get the support for it, we are going to talk about it. By the time the 10 years comes around, the public is already convinced that they need new schools. The goal should be that technology is passing us by and other districts and other locations are doing a better job of educating kids than we are because they can utilize this new technology that we can’t even imagine utilizing. So the goal, on one hand, is to replace the facilities with ones that are state of the art so that our kids can have the same competitive edge that these other districts have. Chuck Cole – The study that was done 1978 said they were talking about a new building. Here we are in 2007 and we are talking about another 10 years or 20 years. We keep pushing it out. Eventually this generation dies out and the next generation wonders why we never ‘got off the pot’ and did something about the state of the schools. If we are talking about building new schools in 10 years, we need to start the planning and raising the money now. Jacque – I don’t think it’s our job, as a board, to decide if we want new schools or not. I think it’s the community’s job to then look at the information that we have prepared and gathered and let them make the decision as to where they want their taxes to go. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – What I think Jacque is saying is there is some value in bringing the community into this conversation sooner rather than later. Vice-Chair Trummer – I think this is a really good thread that we are on here and I think that it is something that is not going to get resolved tonight. I want to make sure we don’t stray too far from what Chris was asked to do here tonight.

 

Chris – What I understood we were doing here tonight was I was presenting what information we have right now to get the go ahead to do a facilities assessment, get something that is of the right now instead of something that is 15+ years old to find out exactly where we need to be looking. Granted our stuff is old but this is what we have right now. I have a copy of a facilities assessment that was done for ERB Memorial Union and it shows what was included in the assessment and it goes through everything, piece by piece. We can use this to assess our buildings and have one of the starting components of where you start for a bond issue. We have to get the community involvement; we have to have a facilities assessment done by an independent third party, that’s why we did the survey of all staff on how the schools work, to get this information together before we even go to the public. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – Chris, based on the information you have collected so far, and looking at the assessments that have been done in the past, do you feel like there would be a need to assess all of the facilities, or target one or two facilities? Chris – Right now, I would target two facilities, the high school and Laurel. Oaklea is the newest school we have, there are issues there but they are more ongoing 5-year, 10-year maintenance plan issues and not huge bond issues at this point. Right now, the two biggest problems are the high school and Laurel. I would look at doing a full facilities assessment on those two and find out where we are at with them. Mike Brotherton – What can they do that you can’t? Mike Tucker – I was a maintenance director for 20 years and I tried doing a facilities assessment on a small scale and it just eats up your time. Chris has a full-time job already; this will be a full-time job in itself. Mike Brotherton – Once we have the assessment results, what are we going to do with them? Are we in a position right now to do anything with the survey that comes back and says that it is going to cost us $5 million to bring the buildings up to code? What are we going to do then? We don’t have the money to do it, and we aren’t even remotely capable, at this point, of going out and getting a bond to do that right now. Judy – At our last school board meeting we decided that it was a matter of the cost. Is it going to cost as much to bring all the buildings up to code as it is to build new buildings? That is what we wanted to know; that is the reason for this meeting. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – We have to start somewhere, and I am not sure what an appropriate first step or next step would be if it is not gathering data. Denise – We also have to have something to present when we are ready to open this dialogue up with the community; we have to have an opener. What are we going to do when the community asks us what the cost would be to build new versus renovating? We aren’t going to have the answer and we will be back at step one, trying to get the assessments done. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I would like to introduce Ed Rogers, he is a parent of two students in our district and a friend of Mr. Brotherton’s. As a parent of children in our community and someone who has had some conversations with Mike about his role on the board, he was interested in sitting in on this meeting. Mr. Rogers – One of the things that I see is that it’s the community’s job to provide the best education that we can to our students. I have two young students that go to Laurel and I have always thought that the teachers need to have the tools at hand to be able to pass on the knowledge they have to the students in the most efficient way they can. New technology allows them to do that. The students need the best learning opportunities that we can give them. The smaller communities have a harder time keeping up with the larger communities; we don’t have the population base for the money that other communities have. When you present a bond measure, you present it to the community in a way, I think, that says that this is the best for our students to keep them competitive down the road. As kids start in school they need to put their best foot forward and the more stuff they can get in their first through sixth grade years, the better. The way they get the best is you have the best staff, you have the best equipment that money can buy to aid them in their education. When we retire, if we haven’t been training our students well enough, the jobs they are going to get are not going to be what will sustain the community over the long haul. They have to have the education base so when they get the chance to go to Universities they can get an academic scholarship because not everyone can get an athletic scholarship, so they need to best education they can get and it starts at this level. I think that is how you need to present it to the community. I think you need to have the facilities assessment done ahead of time so you have facts to back it up with. The community needs to know that the buildings are not going to fall down and crumble, but they are not keeping up with technology today. We need to be able to have computers in the classrooms and audiovisual equipment that is up to standards like other districts have. Kathryn – I am speaking as a parent right now, not as the principal of the high school. I have a daughter at the middle school and I agree with Mr. Rogers completely. I know the chemicals that are in the buildings that are not healthy for my daughter and I don’t like the idea that she is coming to a school where I know there is asbestos. I know our custodians have done a fine job of covering over problems because we can’t solve them due to money restraints, but as a parent I want my daughter safe. Mr. Rogers – Safety is a big thing, but like Mike said, if you find out that there is this type of stuff in the schools and the bond measure fails, all of a sudden you have people upset and demanding that you fix the problems. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – The intention wouldn’t be to identify those things to scare people, I think it is really to inform people and then to ask the community, ‘this is the situation that our kids are learning in, how do you feel about that? Do you think we should do something about it?’ That is the next step after being able to paint a picture to the community. Jacque – Before I know you gave us a cost for a facility assessment. Was that for all of the buildings, or just a few? Chris – The number I gave you was a ballpark figure. The quote I got was from GLaS Architectural Group, who did the assessment for the ERB Memorial Union, and for the same kind of assessment (mechanical, electrical, structural, and architectural) for our schools, they said the top end would be $50,000. He said there were a lot of ways to bring it down, but that is the top for the two schools. Chuck – How long did they say it would take to do one? Chris – Probably it would be this summer before they could get to it because they are busy with other schools right now. The assessment itself includes a lot of different people and he was saying probably a week or two depending on how many nooks and crannies. They would come out and go through and crawl around everywhere and get whatever information we have to give them and they would then put together a report for us. The facilities assessment is the key thing you need to start the whole bond process. Judy – I would like to see the board make a commitment and do this. Denise – I think the timing is perfect in doing this right now. Vice-Chair Trummer – I think we have probably reached a point where we are talking about having an action item on Monday’s agenda where we can actually talk about taking action on having this type of study. Thank you all for your participation.

 

 

Adjourn at 7:23 p.m.  

 

 

 

                                

Superintendent/Clerk             Chair, Board of Directors