Why was a bond referred to the voters?

A 16-member Long-Range Facilities Planning Committee, made up of citizens and staff, spent six months between September 2019 and February 2020 reviewing and assessing the District’s facilities. The committee identified projects in the following areas:

  • Roof

  • Stormwater management

  • Facilities upgrades and repairs

  • Safety and security

  • Accessibility

The committee originally recommended a $6 million bond measure. However, because of the potential economic impact of the coronavirus on the community, the School Board decided to submit a smaller bond request of $4 million for the November 2020 ballot.

The District has received an additional $4 million matching grant from the Oregon School Capital Improvement (OSCIM) program to help pay for bond projects. With this grant money, the District has $8 million to spend on identified projects.

What does the bond cost taxpayers?

Property owners will pay approximately $1.08 per $1,000 of assessed property value during the first 10 years (about $216 per year for a home assessed at $200,000). The tax rate will drop to $0.54 per $1,000 for the final five years (about $108 per year for a home assessed at $200,000).

Could the District’s regular maintenance budget have addressed the bond projects?

The cost of the roof replacement alone exceeds the District’s annual budget for repairs and maintenance. The District budgets about $40,000 per year for repairs and maintenance. The cost of replacing the roof is about $1.4 million.

Did the School Board consider building a new school?

Yes, but after comparing the cost of upgrading current facilities versus new construction, the Board decided to propose changes to the current school buildings. The estimated cost to replace the current buildings with the same square footage built to current code would be approximately $50 million, not including demolition or cost of new land. Labor costs, commercial-quality materials and code requirements are very different for public facilities versus residential or private construction. With public buildings, the state-required prevailing wage adds to the labor costs. For example, the standard rate for a carpenter in Wallowa County is currently $31.96 per hour, but on prevailing wage projects the rate would be $44.83 per hour.

Why are accessibility projects in the bond?

The junior high school was built in 1918, the primary school in 1950, and the high school in 1960, before the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of the campus’ hillside location, the District’s buildings have multiple stories and many stairs. At one point, some staircases were covered with ramps, but those ramps are steep. Some restrooms are small and do not meet accessibility standards. Accessibility is a consideration for students and also for community members who want to attend basketball games and other school events but cannot climb the stairs to enter the gymnasium.

Why are cameras and safety projects included in the bond?

The schools in Enterprise have multiple doors into the buildings. Security cameras, door sensors, and keycard access will be added to the exterior doors of all schools, giving staff the ability to monitor and control building access from the main offices. Vestibules will be added to the entries at the junior high and high school, creating a secure checkpoint where visitors would sign in before gaining access to the rest of the buildings. These steps will allow staff to monitor who comes and goes within the schools.