Schools mull renovation, facility repair bond

Lebanon Community Schools may ask voters to consider a bond sometime in 2022 to renovate and repair school facilities, including the community pool.
These conversations are occurring in response to a Facilities Assessment Report and survey of community residents. The Facilities Assessment Report was conducted by an independent firm in late 2019. It looked at seismic standards, building code requirements, HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems, the potential for hazardous materials, and ADA accessibility at each facility.

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All school district buildings were built prior to 1969, with the exception of Pioneer and Riverview elementary schools and the Lebanon High School Annex. The community pool was built in 1965. It is owned by the school district and operated by the Lebanon Aquatics District.
“We take good care of our facilities, which is why none need replacing at this time,” Superintendent Bo Yates said. “However, they have reached the age where we do need to make renovations or replace some of the operating systems, which is more than just routine maintenance.”
Many of the building systems are outdated, inefficient and in need of repair to meet current educational goals, prevent system failure, and achieve building code compliance.
The report details issues with each facility including mechanical systems and roofing beyond its life expectancy, single-glazed windows, inadequate insulation, and noncompliance with ADA standards. School facilities also require fire safety and security system improvements for students and staff.

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The pool has 62,000 visits per year and requires a significant renovation to continue use by students, residents and visitors to the Lebanon community. The facility requires significant renovations to its pools, decking, locker rooms, restrooms, and systems such as 55-year-old heating pipes that are starting to fail.
“The pool benefits the entire community,” said Lorlee Engler, Executive Director of the Lebanon Aquatics District. “It provides life-safety skills and athletic opportunities for students, family recreation programs, as well as health and wellness benefits for residents. People also come to Lebanon for the pool then shop and dine in area businesses, which helps the local economy. Improving the pool extends these benefits for decades to come.”
Lebanon Community Schools detailed some of these facility needs in a survey of residents this summer. These repairs and renovations are significant and in excess of the school district’s operating budget for routine maintenance. That’s why a voter-approved bond is being considered for these capital projects. The school district has worked to reduce impacts to taxpayers if a bond is pursued.
The projects qualify for $4-8 million in state matching funds if voters approve a bond in 2022. Interest rates also are at historic lows. This means the owner of a home assessed at $200,000 (considered an average for the area) would pay a projected $5 per month. (The assessed value of a home is what taxes are based on, and is lower than its market value.)
The school district will have public meetings about the bond later this fall before deciding whether or not to place such a measure on the ballot sometime in 2022. In the meantime, more information including a copy of the Facilities Assessment Report, can be found on the school district website at www.lebanon.k12.or.us/facilities-bond.