Where We’ve Been
In spring of 2018 the district convened a Facilities Planning Committee (FPC) comprised of several district and community shareholders to examine ways to address overcrowding, safety, security and programming needs in the district. The FPC initially considered a plan in which all district schools would be newly built on a single campus out of the tsunami inundation zone. However, the $110 to $120 million cost of building all new schools at once was well beyond what we as a community could support. The FPC ultimately recommended to the WHSD Board of Directors that the district seek voter support for a bond measure for funds to address the district’s facilities needs in several phases.
In November 2018 voters in our community supported a bond measure to address these needs. The sale of the bonds was slated to generate $38.5 million. With premiums from the bond sales, a matching $4 million grant from the state of Oregon, and a $436,000 grant for career-technical education (CTE) programs the total funding available for our facilities projects comes to $46.5 million. These funds are being used to address:
- Overcrowding: Our district’s population is growing rapidly and our grade school is already overcrowded. In fact, the Warrenton-Hammond School District has the 5th largest K-8 school in Oregon despite being only the 91st largest district in the state. The bond allows for the replacement of aging, inefficient portable classrooms at the grade school campus with the construction of a new middle school out of the tsunami inundation zone. As part of a long-range vision, the district has plans to build a high school and a grade school on the new property in the future.
- Safety and Security: The bond measure enables the district to install single points of entry in our current and new school buildings to better control who enters and leaves our children’s campuses. Cameras and upgrading of security features will help keep students and staff safe in an emergency.
- Tsunami Preparedness: The district is able to purchase property and plan for the construction of a new middle school out of the Tsunami zone. This will provide a disaster relief site for all children and community members in case of emergency. A new high school and a new elementary school are planned for the new property in the future.
- Needed Repairs to Current Schools: This bond measure enables the school district to make important large-scale repairs to all of our school buildings including:
- Siding, paint, window and roof replacement.
- Energy efficiency upgrades to extend the life of our buildings.
- Paving driveways and crosswalks to enhance student safety to and from schools.
- ADA upgrades to accommodate students, parents and community members with special needs.
- The Development of Career and Technical Education Programs: The Warrenton Hammond School District is doing everything it can to give our students a competitive edge for college and career. Leveraging the investment from the $436,000 CTE grant, the bond will pay for improved career education and equipment for programs like welding, automotive repair and other technical education programs. Funds from the bond will be used to improve science and technology spaces for all students in the district.
Progress Updates: Where We Are and Where We Are Going
- Purchase of Property: The district has purchased 58.3 acres of property off of Dolphin Road that will accommodate the district’s long-term vision of having all schools on a single campus. The first step will be the construction of a new middle school on this property.
- Construction of a New Middle School: The district has begun the process of constructing a new middle school.
- We have hired a project management firm, a design firm and a construction manager-general contractor who will be our partners throughout the construction process.
- A Design Advisory Committee (DAC) has been formed and actively engaged in the design process. The DAC is comprised of WHSD teachers, parents, and community members and its purpose is to offer guidance to the district on the design of a new middle school. Since May 2019 DAC members have joined our design firm in two workshops and a day-long tour of recently built schools in the region. These activities served as a way for the DAC to give informed input to the district on the design of our new middle school. The DAC will continue to work with the design firm through the fall of 2019.
- We anticipate that the new middle school campus will be completed sometime in the fall of 2021.
- Construction of a Career and Technical Education Building: A new Career and Technical Education (CTE) building is currently being constructed on our high school campus. We anticipate the new CTE building will be ready to be occupied early this fall and will be complete by January of 2020. This building will house the district’s automotive and welding education programs which will be up and running for the 2019-2020 school year.
- Repairs and Safety/Security Upgrades:
- A new roof, including the installation of some solar panels, is being put on the high school. We anticipate this project being complete this fall.
- The siding on the grade school building will be replaced in the summer of 2020.
- Security and safety upgrades at the grade school and high school are slated for the spring and summer of 2020.
- Communications about the Bond Construction Projects:
- A Bond Communications Committee (BCC) has been formed. The BCC is made of Warrenton Hammond School District staff members, parents, and community members and serves as a means to oversee and communicate about the use of bond funds. The BCC met once in May of 2019 and will begin regularly meetings this fall. This committee will serve as a vital source of communication between you and the district regarding the use of bond funds. More information about the BCC will be forthcoming in September.
- Bond project updates are provided at each of our monthly school board meetings. You are invited to join us at these meetings which are held at 7:00 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month in the Warrenton High School library.
- Our school district website(www.warrentonschools.com) and school social media accounts will have regular updates on the bond projects beginning later this month.
On behalf of the students, parents and staff members of the Warrenton Hammond School District I thank the Warrenton and Hammond communities for investing in our region by investing in our kids. The Warrenton Hammond School District is fully committed to being a great steward of the funding and resources you have provided for us. I look forward to working with you to provide outstanding educational opportunities for each of our kids.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or concerns you may have in regard to our bond construction projects or any other district matter. I can be reached at (503) 861-2281.