CSD Bond Program Reaches Major Milestone

CSD Bond Program Reaches Major Milestone

The Corvallis School District reached a significant milestone this month with the School Board’s approval of the final contract for the Harding Center/College Hill project. While construction activity will continue throughout the district well into 2023, all bond projects are under contract, bond promises have been addressed, and the projects will be completed within the available funds. This is a major milestone for the bond program.

The scope of the 2018 Facilities Bond included two new elementary schools to replace Lincoln and Bessie Coleman Elementary Schools, the replacement of 21 modular classrooms across the district’s elementary schools with permanent classroom facilities, the addition of multi-purpose dining commons at four elementary schools, capital repairs district-wide, safety upgrades district-wide, and the modernization of teaching spaces and middle and high school career and technical education classrooms district-wide. 

The bond program officially kicked off in July 2018 with the hiring of Wenaha Group as construction project manager. The Wenaha team has worked closely with district leadership and has provided experienced, on‐site staff throughout the bond program. They have been an integral partner in facilitating inclusive and collaborative community engagement, starting with the architect selection process in July 2019. The work at 15 project sites has included architects, multiple contractors for construction, solar installation, some new furnishings, and moving coordination. With more than two dozen separate projects completed—phased to accomplish the work to minimize disruption to school operations— the District is now in the final stretch of fulfilling the bond promises made to voters in May 2018.

Monthly reports to the school board and a community-based Bond Oversight Committee have provided transparency since 2018. Multiple school and neighborhood information meetings have been held to gather input and share information. In addition to the voter-approved $200 bond, an additional $60 million in bond premiums, grants, energy efficiency incentives, and other sources have been carefully monitored and managed to ensure all projects are completed and bond promises are kept. 

The bond program team, comprising district staff, consultants, and contractors have been very deliberate in outreach efforts to include our culturally and linguistically diverse Corvallis community in the planning and design process. The District also embedded sustainability principles into the design process to develop technical sustainable design standards for energy efficiency, water usage, air quality, and choice of building materials. 

Highlights of the bond program include the District’s unwavering commitment to equity and inclusion in the design process and the level of community and student engagement in this work. Several significant challenges were navigated, including the COVID-19 pandemic and unparalleled inflation, labor shortages, and supply chain delays. These challenges have demanded an enormous amount of flexibility, creative problem-solving, cooperation, and accommodation within our school communities. 

Facilities Director Kim Patten is happy to be at this point in the bond program. “Planning and decisions have been made with the District’s core values at the forefront. It might have been easier to take the path of least resistance in some moments. Still, we have remained committed to engaging with our community, especially those who don’t always have a seat at the table, to understand concerns and diverse perspectives. We are so grateful for the trust and partnership we have with our community.”