McKenzie School District Facilities Improvements

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history behind last fall's bond that was referred to the voters?

A Long Range Facilities Planning Committee, comprised of staff, parents and community members, met from September 2019 to May 2020 to review and assess the district’s facilities. A cornerstone of their work was a Facilities Assessment Report produced by Soderstrom Architects, with input from structural and mechanical engineers. Among the findings, the report noted that McKenzie Elementary School does not meet earthquake safety standards. According to the report, it would cost an estimated $6.3 million to repair and renovate McKenzie Elementary School, in addition to the cost of a seismic retrofit to meet earthquake safety standards.

The report also identified issues in other buildings on campus, including aging facilities and deferred maintenance projects. The committee decided to submit a bond measure to voters that, if approved, would pay for a new elementary school and other facilities upgrades.

If the measure had been approved, the District would have received a $4 million matching grant from the Oregon School Capital Improvement (OSCIM) program to help pay for the bond projects. With this grant money, the District would have had a total of $19 million to spend on facilities upgrades if the bond measure is approved. This matching grant has been deferred to the May election due to the Holiday Farm Fire by the Oregon Department of Education. 

Could the District use the $4 million matching grant at a time later than the May election?

No, OSCIM grants are awarded for a specific election. If a bond does not pass in May, the District would not receive the matching grant funds. The District would be highly unlikely to get another waiver. The District could reapply for the grant in a competitive process for a future election but may or not receive it.

What would have the bond proposed in November cost if it is approved?

The proposed bond was for $15,210,000 and would have been repaid over 21 years. If it was approved, property owners would have had to pay approximately $1.96 per $1,000 of assessed property value (about $412 per year for a home assessed at the median assessed value in the McKenzie area of $210,174). Since the bond did not pass, the tax rate did not increase. 

Could the District’s regular maintenance budget address the proposed projects?

No. The district spends an average of $45,000 per year on repairs and maintenance of its facilities. The estimated cost of repairing and renovating McKenzie Elementary School -- not including a seismic upgrade or identified upgrades to other buildings --would be $6.3 million. Issues identified include deteriorating roof; HVAC, plumbing and mechanical systems that are beyond their life expectancy; and hazardous materials including asbestos tile flooring, lead, mold, radon gas and PCBs.

How old is McKenzie Elementary School?

The elementary school was built in 1950, with additions in 1955, 1959, 1960 and 1966, using a combination of wood framed roofs and concrete masonry construction.

What safety and security upgrades were included in the November bond?

The security cameras, intercom system and fire alarm system would have been upgraded if the bond measure passed. A secure entry vestibule would have been added at the high school so staff could better monitor and control entry into the building. The open corridor of the science building would have been enclosed to better control access and for greater energy efficiency. Access control gates also would have been added to the campus entry.

Should a bond pass, what kind of oversight would district citizens have over the use of funds?

If the bond is approved, the District would convene a Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee to monitor the progress of the bond. The committee would report back to the School Board on a regular basis as a measure of accountability.