JUNCTION CITY, Ore. (KMTR) -- The Junction City School District may ask voters for help this November to fix aging school buildings that it says are dangerous, draining money and need to be fixed.
Junction City Schools is hosting a “facility improvements” meeting next week to talk about the future of its four buildings: Laurel Elementary School, Territorial Elementary School, Oaklea Middle School and Junction City High School.
Each building needs serious work that the district likely won’t be able to do without taxpayer help. Junction City taxpayers haven’t passed a school bond measure since 1994. That measure was paid off in 2004.
NewsSource 16 took a look at two schools on Tuesday including the jam-packed Laurel Elementary. The building was built in 1949 and holds more than 500 kids today. The district wants to replace Laurel Elementary, saying it has significant size and maintenance issues.
Size wise, one of the biggest issues is the school’s tiny cafeteria and kitchen. The cafeteria doesn’t have enough room to serve all the kids at once. Because of the small size, school staff members are forced to work 4 and a-half 30 minute shifts in order to get lunch out to all of the kids.
The gym is also one of the problematic areas. Inside, the gym resembles a barn with large exposed wood and piping along the ceiling. The floor is covered with a plastic top that seals asbestos-laden tile.
The library is also out of space, sharing it with the school’s only computer lab. Virtually no natural light comes in to the room as well. Meanwhile, in the front of the building, the school is blasted with light from glass walls. However, the glass bricks siphon thousands of dollars of heat away from the building. The district’s Facilities Coordinator Chris Meyer says the school’s mechanical and electrical systems are also failing.
"It'd be a great thing for not only the school district by the community. Because a lot of the stuff is going to be you know, better community access and of course a lot better teaching ability, you know upgrades in infrastructure, technology and everything else which is, you know, all behind what it should be,” says Chris Meyer, Facilities Coordinator for Junction City School
Junction City High School also needs a lot of work. The district wants to knock down the west wing of the school and move it to connect with the east wing. Currently, the school's campus is sprawled out according to Meyer, leading to security concerns.
Athletic fields are also less than ideal and somewhat dangerous for student athletes and fans. Both football and baseball fields made of real grass and have a constant problem of pooling rainwater. The water leaves the district to either close the fields to prevent damage or constantly repair muddy grass. The district wants to replace the field with a turf surface.
The high school’s grand stand also needs to be replaced due to age and safety concerns. Large gaps under the seats leave places for kids to fall through on to metal girders below.
There are several more proposed projects that district facilities managers will talk about at the “facility improvements” meeting next week. The meeting takes place on March 11th
, 2013 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Junction City High School cafeteria.
For more information on the district’s proposed improvements, click the following link: http://www.junctioncity.k12.or.us