COOS BAY — Beneath the new Eastside School will be a foundation with 90 steel pilings that are 40 feet deep.

The Coos Bay School District recently completed a geo-tech survey on the property and discovered that the new building will need reinforcement.

“Surprise, surprise, we live on the coast and found sandy soils,” said Superintendent Bryan Trendell.

The district decided to go with steel pilings to save money, though it will still cost roughly half a million dollars to get it done.

Before that begins, the district has finished schematic designs for the school and will be presenting those to the City of Coos Bay for permitting approval later this month. After that, the district will go to do bids on subcontractor work before breaking ground in the first half of April, which is when the pilings will be driven.

“There will be noise driving them in,” Trendell said. “We will mitigate that with the fact they can shake those into place. Rather than spend months driving pilings and disturbing the neighborhood, we can shake those into place with little disruption on two or three weekends.”

The plan is to do this on the weekend so classes at Millicoma School aren’t interrupted.

When the district did the geo-tech survey at Eastside, it also had it done at the Harding Building. While Eastside’s soil was sandy and loose, the foundation beneath Harding was sturdy. Trendell said this means there won’t have to be so many pilings beneath the new junior high at that location, saving the district money to put toward the building itself.

The Harding Building is one year behind the work being done at Eastside, meaning that demolition will take place next fall.

Not only that, but the district is in the process of giving Harding a new name.

Trendell said the district seems favorable to Marshfield Junior High, Marshfield Middle School, Coos Bay Junior High or Coos Bay Middle School.

“There were some funny ones people put in that didn’t gain a lot of steam,” Trendell laughed. “Those four by far are at the top. Harding Junior High was number five on the list.”

The Coos Bay School Board will name the new school in the next month or two.

“We need a name attached when we go out for design and bid,” Trendell said.

Meanwhile, progress is being made at the Harding Building. According to Trendell, the district has done basic programming with architects who sat with key staff to talk about what the new building will need as far as classrooms, as well as the district’s “wish list” for the new building.

“It’s the same process with Eastside,” he said. “We’ve pared down some of the work since building materials are going up in price, but we’ve arrived with what we think will be a nice, state-of-the-art building.”

To shrink the project to save on money, Trendell said the district cut back on square footage.

“Ultimately it comes to that,” he said. “We had to reduce spaces but will end up with the same types of spaces in the end. It’s going to have everything we want it to have and we feel good about that.”

The new Harding Building will hold upward of 400 students, becoming the new home for all 8th grade and 7th grade students in the district. Trendell said the district wants to keep 8th graders near Marshfield High School to continue taking upper coursework, while still being separate with other students in their age group.

“When we talk about that junior high, we have great opportunities for 8th grade kids at the high school and also want them to have their own home,” he said. “This way there could still be the possibility that our 8th graders are getting high-end classes and still be taught at the high school.”

What this means is the Coos Bay BEST Bond project is on moving along on schedule.

“That’s where we are,” Trendell said. “We’re hoping to get ground broken in April at the new Eastside site and the new junior high planning is on schedule and is very early in the planning stage.”

Reporter Jillian Ward can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 235, or by email at jillian.ward@theworldlink.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JE_Wardwriter.