COOS BAY – Whether or not the BEST Bond passes in November, the Coos Bay School District has problems that need answers.
During the regular school board meeting Monday night, board member and BEST Bond committee chairman James Martin posed two scenarios to the room.
The first: if the bond passes next month, giving the district $59.9 million to upgrade its buildings, where do the special programs go?
“If the bond passes, there are programs that need to relocate,” Martin said.
These programs are Destinations Academy, Resource Link, the Teen Parent Program, GED, and the ARK Project.
“Resource Link would be happy to be on the high school campus and happy on the bottom floor of Pirate Hall,” Martin said. “The Teen Parent Program fluctuates in size and facility needs, and at the high school our next CTE program is to focus on early childhood education, so that is also an option.”
Meanwhile, Destinations Academy requires four classrooms and may be able to relocate into the back wing at Milner Crest, where the district administrative offices are housed.
“That leaves GED and ARK,” Martin said. “Our facilities manager, Rick Roberts, brought up an idea to use the four acres owned by the district behind Walmart. We could look into a preliminary development with modular classrooms there, which would be good to have near the new social services building and ORCCA (Oregon Coast Community Action). We need to do more homework on that though.”
However, establishing modular buildings on undeveloped property would cost the district an estimated $400,000 because the modulars that could be moved don’t have plumbing or bathrooms. This means the district would either have to lease or purchase modulars.
“It’s pricey,” Martin said.
District superintendent Bryan Trendell suggested that the cafeteria and basement at Milner Crest become the new home for the ARK and GED programs.
“We could also move administrations offices to Blossom Gulch and free this building completely for education purposes,” Trendell said. “We want this building to be a fallback if we have an influx of elementary kids. All are options when looking at space, but we also need to look at the price tag to make sure we aren’t overextending ourselves on the amount.”
Then there was Martin’s second scenario: if the bond fails for a third time, the district must resolve the overcapacity issues in its elementary buildings.
“Blossom Gulch and Madison are over capacity with no more classroom space,” Martin said. “Adding another modular doesn’t solve the problem of having too many kids in one spot.”
Right now there are over 600 children at Blossom Gulch, which is located in the inundation zone and with a failing foundation.
“If we aren’t building new buildings, someone else has to move,” Martin said. “We went through this last year.”
The district has a long term plan to move its seventh graders onto the high school campus. If the bond fails, that plan will be put in fast forward to make room at Millicoma and Sunset middle schools.
“I don’t like the proposals,” Martin told the rest of the school board. “They aren’t great solutions. I’ve said for years that the Coos Bay School District has had to make decisions about education based on buildings we have rather than designing buildings to suit the needs we have. We hope to change that this fall.”
The bond campaign is being kicked off tonight at 7 Devils in Coos Bay at 5 p.m.