Foster remodel plans finished; Holley next

Sean C. Morgan

Plans for the remodel of Foster Elementary School are complete, and gLAs Architects, the Eugene firm that is designing improvements for a number of schools in the district, is working on drawings for a remodel at Holley Elementary School.

“They’re drawing a lot of stuff right now,” said district Maintenance Supervisor Josh Darwood.

The Sweet Home School District will remodel the schools next summer in conjunction with $1.5 million seismic upgrade projects at each school.

The seismic upgrades are funded by a state grant, while the remodels are funded from a portion of a $4 million bond levy approved by district voters in 2016 and $4 million in matching grant funds from the State of Oregon.

In the Foster remodel, “we’re doing a lot there,” Darwood said. The school office will move across the hall to the east edge of the building, where the staff lounge is located.

“Where the office is currently, that’ll be the workroom slash staff lounge,” Darwood said.

A hallway north of the office will provide an exit and entrance on the east side of the building, Darwood said, allowing parents to drop off and pick up students on school property instead of using and causing congestion on Poplar Street north of the school.

“I think it’s fantastic,” said Principal Luke Augsburger. “It’s going to be a great, safe space, some nice improvements to keep our students safe.”

The old windows tend not to be safe during an earthquake, Augsburger said. “It’s nice to be able to improve the structural soundness of our building.”

The school library this year moved to the old special education room, which was in an outbuilding.

The move was meant to locate the classroom in the main building and was not connected to the remodel, Darwood said.

At Holley, the district will enclose the porch area, pushing the office into that location, creating more space, Darwood said. The farthest classroom from the office will become a cafeteria, so the school no longer must use the gym as a cafeteria.

Classrooms will be rearranged in the process, Darwood said, creating more room space for specialist meetings.

Both projects include a locking vestibule at the school’s main entrance to improve security at the schools.

District maintenance staff will handle both construction projects, Darwood said. He is hoping to start at Foster near the end of the school year.

The seismic upgrade projects are the last of four grant-funded projects to improve safety in schools. The district previously upgraded the Sweet Home High School auditorium and last summer at Hawthorne School. The district completed a remodel of the Hawthorne School in conjunction with the seismic upgrade.

Gerding Construction of Corvallis, which completed the previous upgrades, has been selected for the next two projects.

The district is seeking an additional state grant to pay for a seismic upgrade project at Oak Heights.

Another remodeling project, primarily funded by the bond and matching grant, is under way at Sweet Home Junior High.

Maintenance staff members have taken down and cleaned up outbuildings that housed the art room, cafeteria and Basic Life Skills.

Gerding Construction is water-proofing the north side of the gym, Darwood said. Once complete, district staff will demolish the locker rooms, allowing construction to start there.

The Junior High project has a number of features, including the construction of a new gym, office space, a cafeteria and locker rooms. The existing office will be the new art room. The now-flat roof will be given a slope.