The Stanfield School District is looking to make some changes. In May 2019, the district plans to place a bond on the ballot, which will target safety upgrades and improve classroom space for both the elementary and secondary schools.
If passed, the bond will appear on Stanfield residents’ tax statements beginning in July 2019.
While the district needs about $14 million to complete the proposed projects, it is not yet clear how much the bond will ask of voters.
The district found out on Wednesday that it received a $4 million Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching grant.
“We could ask voters for less than $14 million, which would actually lower taxes, and use the $4 million in matching funds to make up the difference while accounting for the rising costs of materials and labor,” said Stanfield Superintendent Beth Burton in an email to the East Oregonian.
The district has identified several projects that bond money will target. At the elementary school, it will focus on a more secure entryway, with better visibility. The parking area will be remodeled to hold more vehicles, and separate the driving area from the drop-off area. The bond also allots money to replace the flooring in the elementary school.
There are a slew of proposed projects at the secondary school, including upgrading the surveillance system, removing lead plumbing, replacing all exterior and some interior doors, upgrading the kitchen equipment, remodeling the administrative office and entrance, and expanding the metal and wood shops.
Burton and Stanfield Elementary School principal Lacey Sharp led a group of about 30 Stanfield residents and staff members around the facilities, pointing out the areas that the bond will target.
Burton noted that while capital improvements in many local schools, like Hermiston, have focused on capacity, that’s not the case in Stanfield. She said enrollment numbers are not projected to increase, and have actually dropped a bit in the past few years. Stanfield currently has about 470 students between its two schools.
Instead, she said, priorities for the bond include improving student and staff safety, enhancing career and technical education space, expanding the space for the middle school (currently housed in a single portable), and improving the overall learning environment.
Burton noted some of the design flaws in both buildings, such as the lack of windows in the secondary school. Earlier that day, the power had gone out in the school.
“It was pitch dark and unsafe,” Burton said.
The group toured the gym, which has new flooring and bleachers, but would get a new air conditioning system as a result of the bond. In the kitchen, they observed the cracked floor and old appliances.
“It takes me about 45 minutes to boil water,” said Clara Nichols, the food service manager at Stanfield Secondary School.
The district last went out for a bond in 1999, after which they built Stanfield Elementary School. That building has not had any upgrades since then. The secondary school was built in 1979, and was remodeled in 1995.