During the recent Thoughtexchange process, community members asked the following questions about the proposed capital bond measure. In an effort to be transparent, we have answered each question.
When is the vote for this bond? The 18-day voting period begins on October 18, 2019, and runs through Election Day – November 5, 2019.
You don’t address all schools. You mention only specific schools. What are the improvements planned for EVERY school? Every elementary, middle and high school will receive safety and security updates and almost all will get facilities repairs based on current condition. The high schools will receive career technical/vocational facility remodels and new machinery and tools to bring programs up to industry standards.
Who is going to decide on the safety and repair projects that take priority? Every school in the district will get safety and repair project work done. The decisions as to what projects take priority will be through discussions with principals, staff members and the superintendent. Contractors and school safety specialists will be supporting the decision-making process so money is used wisely and achieves goals.
What specific “large repair projects” would the bond measure include? The bond measure will include repair projects at every school in the district based on need. Not every school will receive the same level or number of repairs since some schools, like Olympic Elementary, have greater need.
In general, schools will receive one or all of concrete and asphalt repair, interior and exterior lighting upgrades, flooring replacement, HVAC replacement, electrical and plumbing repairs, gym floor replacement, new roof and drainage/irrigation repairs.
What vocational upgrades will be done? Existing classrooms and work spaces will be remodeled, new tools and equipment purchased and the programs brought up to industry standard.
I was wondering if the trades program included Discovery High School students too? Yes, the trade programs are available to all high school students.
What percentage of this funding will support college and career readiness upgrades/facilities for our graduates? $8.4 million or 7.3 percent of the bond funding will support career and college readiness.
Making the new Mint Valley will be larger to accommodate growth in west Longview is a great idea. How much larger will it be? Currently Mint Valley Elementary serves about 430 students; the new, larger school will accommodate 540 students, which is about 25 percent more students.
Are both new elementary schools going to be similar in design? The buildings will be similar in that modern safety and security entrances, exits and classrooms will be incorporated into the design. Since the property at the two schools is different in size and shape, the final building designs will be different.
Why not expand the schools being remodeled to house more students? By expanding capacity at Mint Valley Elementary by 25 percent, and Northlake Elementary by about 63 percent, the district will have sufficient capacity.
Why wasn’t Olympic put on the list to be replaced? The Facility Advisory Committee and school board identified the needs of Northlake and Mint Valley as the priority. Understanding the needs at Olympic Elementary are significant, the plan includes over $3 million in building repairs and upgrades for that school.
What specific repairs will happen to Olympic? Olympic Elementary will receive $2.8 million in repairs, including a new roof, some walls replaced, concrete fixed, new gym floor, new flooring throughout, electric and plumbing upgrades, new fire alarm, new metal ramps for portables, and new irrigation.
In addition, Olympic will receive another $292,500 for safety and security. This will include a new intercom system, lockdown system for the main entrance, secure entrance for the main hallway and Monticello field entrance, a reconfigured front porch to control access, remove and build new walls to control access, and fencing improvements.
How do you plan to improve security at Columbia Heights elementary? The general contractor, along with security consultants and the district, will develop a plan to control public access to the school utilizing cameras, fencing, warning systems, and a secure office area.
What is the plan for keeping portables? The plan is to reduce the use of portables as much as possible. Increasing the capacity of both Mint Valley and Northlake to 540 students per school will eliminate portable use at the two schools. Redrawing boundaries will help other schools reduce portable usage.
What are your plans for remodeling the other elementary schools? Every elementary school in the district will receive repairs and updates based on current condition. Some schools will receive more repairs than others will. In general, repairs are focused on concrete and asphalt, interior and exterior lighting upgrades, new carpets and flooring, heating, electrical and plumbing, fix drainage and irrigation problems, new gym floors, and, in select cases, classroom walls torn down and replaced.
Why do the expenditures for rebuilding the two elementary schools seem to be more expensive than the last proposal? Construction costs are rising about 4 percent per year, so cost estimates were revised to reflect market conditions.
Are we spending the money on the right schools? Should you ask for more money and address more elementary schools? Since 2018, 14 community input sessions have been held, a scientific community survey performed, and a digital Thoughtexchange completed. The significant community feedback along with the Facilities Advisory Committee, school board, district employees, and consultants shaped and built the plan.
Why haven’t the boundaries been redrawn after more than 10 years? If the proposed capital bond measure passes, a public process to review, discuss, and make possible boundary changes will take place as new schools are constructed.
Why include a stadium in the bond measure? Based on feedback from district employees and community members, along with the current condition of the stadium, the Facilities Advisory Committee recommended stadium upgrades be part of the bond measure. The updated stadium complex and field will serve both boys and girls sports.
Good to see Memorial Stadium involved in the work – what is the plan for visitor bleachers? The plan for visitor bleachers has not been finalized.
I am curious about the plan, at one point, to have community sponsors donate the monies for athletic facility upgrades/builds? The district has met with numerous potential community sponsors about donating funds for athletic fields. However, no commitments have been secured at this point.
The stadium used for games will get turf, but will practice fields be turfed as well? The Memorial Stadium football/soccer field will get turf, practice fields will remain natural surfaces.
Are local emergency services being included in the safety upgrade design planning discussions? The school district works closely with law enforcement and emergency services on a daily basis and will continue to as facilities are updated.
How long will it take? Where will students be housed during the remodels? Construction, repairs and updates will take several years. Students will continue class at the old schools while new schools are constructed. Once the new schools are built, the kids and staff will transition to the new buildings.
There has been talk about much development out Ocean Beach Hwy. What is the district’s plan around such development? The Facility Advisory Committee met with Longview city planners to understand expected area population growth. Most of the future growth is expected west of town. By increasing the size of Mint Valley and Northlake to accommodate 540 students at each location, this will add capacity west of Longview and allow elementary boundaries to be redrawn. Mt. Solo Middle School currently has capacity available for more students.
Is it wise to start a capital bond campaign when basic education costs are still in a state of flux? If the capital bond measure passes, by law, the money must be used for school facilities and has no bearing or influence on basic education funding.
What about the Broadway Learning Center, it seems to be the “child left behind”? If the bond passes, three and four year-old special education students will move from Broadway to a wing in the expanded Northlake Elementary building. The Broadway Learning Center will be leased, repurposed or sold.
Why so much money spent on high school? The bond measure is based on current facility conditions and the feedback from numerous groups.
Why aren’t we consolidating schools? The district considered consolidating schools as part of the overall capital bond process, but the cost of creating enough additional capacity at other locations to offset closing a school is too expensive.
This plan seems to have an eye towards future growth. Is it enough to merit the price tag? The feedback from the community to the school board is to address as many facility needs as possible, while being sensitive to the level of property tax increase. The plan also takes into account planned future growth in west Longview by increasing the capacity to serve more students.
What happened to the one high school discussion? The one or two high school discussion is on the long-term facilities plan for community discussion in the 2021-2023 timeframe.
Can the bond be funded if housing prices crash? Yes, bond funding is not dependent on home prices.
If you have questions about the capital bond measure please click here to email them.