Oregon law requires large school districts to prepare a ten-year facilities plan and submit it to the Oregon Department of Education during the first quarter of each new school year. Salem-Keizer district staff have been working on the plan for several months, and presented an executive summary to the School Board at its October 11, 2016, meeting.
The law stipulates what the long-range facilities plan must include, such as population projections by age group, needed physical improvements, financial plans to meet facility needs, and other information.
To gather the information needed for the plan, Salem-Keizer staff conducted assessments at each school and support facility, interviewed school principals about the educational adequacy of their buildings, and worked with the Portland State University Population Research Center to develop 20-year enrollment projections.
Following are highlights of the findings to date:
- Five of the district’s six high schools are currently near or over capacity.
- Additional capacity will be needed at fifteen elementary schools over the next ten years.
- Sixty percent of the district’s current portable classrooms will be between 20-36 years old within the next ten years.
- The addition of portables to address classroom space needs over the years has put pressure on school facility infrastructure and shared spaces, such as gymnasiums, cafeterias and libraries.
- Several support and administrative facilities were noted to have become less functional due to lack of office space, meeting rooms and production areas.
- School buildings represent a significant investment of public funds, and ongoing maintenance of these buildings requires careful planning. Continued attention to roofing, siding, plumbing, mechanical improvements, ADA compliance improvements, etc., will be required.
- Seismic upgrades, educational technology, and Career and Technical Education facility needs were identified.
- School safety and security needs were identified.
To complete the Long Range Facilities Plan, Salem-Keizer staff will need to finalize the financial portion of the document, which is called the Capital Improvement Plan. The CIP will include a detailed list of projects that will address the identified facility needs, and the estimated cost of each project.
At the October 11 Board meeting, district staff recommended that the Board create a Citizen’s Facilities Task Force to review the Long Range Facilities Plan and provide recommendations related to the completion of the Capital Improvement Plan. Public engagement will provide important perspective on addressing the needs identified and on completing the CIP. The Task Force would be asked to present recommendations to the School Board for discussion related to next steps.
For more information about the Long Range Facilities Plan or the Citizen’s Facilities Task Force, please contact Mary Paulson, chief of staff at (503) 399-3000.