Upgraded heating and cooling systems, a new secure entrance, and some athletic facility improvements are some of the needs that the Oregon-Davis School Corporation will have to address in the coming years. Superintendent Dr. Don Harman and Head of Maintenance Scott Taylor led the school board on a facilities tour Wednesday.
As the tour entered the elementary school, Harman said the chillers that keep the buildings cool in the summer are on borrowed time, both there and at the high school. “And the cost of a chiller is anywhere between $400,000 to $500,000,” he added. “So if either one of our chillers goes down, that is an immediate cost.” But Taylor added that the entire HVAC control systems in both buildings are outdated and need to be replaced.
In the elementary school, Harman is looking at creating a secure entry by installing glass partitions that would physically prevent visitors from entering the building without first passing through the main office.
Outside the building, he said the upcoming removal of the two modular structures will make room for a new, safer playground. “There’s been a lot of discussion this year with our playground, and our PTA is being very active with our playground,” Harman said. “And they want to raise money to put a new playground in. If you look at a lot of our playground equipment, it’s probably original playground equipment. We do have a plan that we want to remove a lot of these pieces of equipment, and we want to condense this playground.”
In front of the elementary school, crumbling curbs and sidewalks are set to be repaired this summer, but a few drainage concerns remain, especially in the back. Taylor pointed out a small sinkhole near the playground. “That’s one that’s been repaired like three or four times now,” he said. “That’s why we never re-asphalted it because you’ve got to constantly dig it up and fix it. That’s where the roof drain comes through, and it keeps blowing the line apart.”
When it comes to athletic facilities, Superintendent Harman said the track will have to be resurfaced, but another big concern is the baseball field press box. “You know, I was told when I came here, for years, everyone talks about, ‘We’re going to get a new baseball press box. We’re going to do something with the press box,’ and it never happens,” Harman explained. “And I’ve always said, that’s why you have to have a 10-year plan because if you have it on the books, then we can plan for it. . . . My goal would be, hey, if we know in two years, we’re going to build a nice press box, we might have some people who might donate blocks or their time or whatnot. But instead of just saying, ‘Yep, we’re going to do it,’ and it never happens, put it on a plan.”
A few other things that need to be addressed, according to Harman, are the carpeting in both buildings, especially in the high school media center, and the need for a separate boiler for the pool at the elementary school.
As for how these projects would be paid for, Harman said O-D has a significant amount of debt will be paid off in 2023, which would allow the corporation to start tackling some of the bigger projects around that time. “What, typically, a corporation will do, and what we need to do, is that is a time that we will continue to keep that debt, roll and get another bond for $7 million,” he said, “and that’s when we will address a lot of the facility needs: chillers, those kind of things, big-ticket items.”
Harman said the next step is to work with Taylor, Treasurer Nikki Salazar, the building principals, and the school board to update the strategic action plan that was created last year. He said the strategic action team will also be holding meetings in the near future.