School districts craft bond plans

A group of citizens pondering a possible bond measure for a new Vale middle school has hit upon a new question: where to build it.

The latest wrinkle under consideration calls for siting the new project on district-owned land behind the existing high school.

Some on the task force were drawn to the idea of shared instructors and facilities, while keeping the middle and high school age groups separate. Also a plus: possible lower costs associated with the facility there, and the availability of space for expansion in the future.

The discussion comes as the district and its supporters consider taking a bond measure to the voters. Passage of a measure would make the district eligible for up to $4 million of matching state money.

The district’s current bond is set to be retired this year. A new bond, if approved next November, would not take effect until after the current bond expires.

The Nyssa and Adrian school districts have announced they will seek bond approval from voters this May.

Nyssa is seeking $4 million for a new middle school while Adrian is asking for $945,000 for a new gymnasium.

In addition to a possible new middle school, the Vale district has identified other improvements needed in buildings throughout the district. Topping the list are items to address safety concerns, such as installation of new fire alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems in all the school buildings in the district. The estimated cost for the latter is $1.5 million. The upgrades would be at Vale Elementary, Vale High School, Willowcreek Elementary and the Oregon Trail Learning Academy.

The local task force has met several times to consider the issues.

“I am grateful for the turnout and the input we have from the community members regarding this,” said Vale superintendent Scott Linenberger. “I look forward to the continuing ideas coming out of these meetings.”