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School assessment

ABOVE: In the winter of 2019, Cooperative Strategies completed facilities condition assessments for each school in the Klamath Falls City Schools district.

Klamath Falls City Schools reviewed a report from Cooperative Strategies Monday night, a firm hired through state grant funds to identify the needs of the district’s aging buildings.

The report found a total of more than $9.38 million needed in repairs at Mills, Conger, Pelican and Roosevelt elementary schools, as well as Ponderosa Middle School and the district office at Lucille O’Neal Education Center.

The report also recommends three options to address aging facilities in the future: one would be to reconfigure students to attend two K-8 schools; two would be to build two new elementary schools and a new middle school; three, keep all existing facilities and conduct a “major overhaul” of each building, including adding square footage at above-capacity Roosevelt and Conger elementary schools.

The estimated costs for the recommended options are:

n Building two K-8 building: $107,692,423

n Building two new elementary schools and one new middle school: $105,799,097

n Major renovation of all current schools and district office, minus Klamath Union High School: $94,282,595

“If the board down the road looks at going for another bond to do some repair work, we would need to do a more in-depth study,” said Daymond Monteith, business manager for city schools.

“I think this gives us a good snapshot of where we are currently and some things to think about moving forward.”

The district applied for and received a technical assistance program grant in 2018 that provided the district with $70,000, Monteith said.

“There won’t be any district cost associated with this,” he added. “We received that grant in 2018. We submitted a request for proposals. We received those at the end of the year 2018, and we began this work in 2019. This is kind of the culmination of all of that work.”

The facility study, which looks at a long-range plan for the district’s building, has three primary components: one, the current condition of the buildings; two, historical and projected enrollment rates in the district; and three, how much each option to restructure buildings would cost.

The report found that the below schools would need the following repairs totaling $3,131,294:

n Conger Elementary: $636,752

n Mills Elementary: $1,127,548

n Pelican Elementary: $676,507

n Roosevelt Elementary: $690,487

No decisions on any of the options were made at the meeting, just a review of information found in the facility assessment.

“It kind of gives you a sense of the state that they’re in, especially if you look at the repair costs,” Monteith said.

“They went through all of our buildings and looked at all of the systems … everything from drywall to plumbing and said, OK, what is the current status of that,” Monteith said.

“And what would it cost to … make general repairs. Those wouldn’t be ongoing costs.”

Monteith said the report found district enrollment projections going into the next decade forecast a declining trend.

“From 2009 to current, we have lost quite a few students,” Monteith said, noting a loss of 417 students.

The report specifically looks at birth counts in the 97601 zipcode versus the 97603 zipcode, which shows a decline in number of babies being born since 2003.

“Basically we’re going to kind of flatten out, but overall, a decline,” Monteith said, of enrollment.

The facilities report will be submitted to Oregon Department of Education by or before Dec. 31.

Next steps, if any, will be taken to consider options moving forward in 2020.