Frequently Asked Questions from 2019 Bond Process
Question: Does the passage of the 2019 capital bond impact the school district's ability to pass a future bond should further capital construction projects be needed?
Answer: West Linn-Wilsonville School District patrons have passed capital construction bonds every 5-6 years since 1997. The regularity of this cycle has allowed the district to present smaller capital programs that both keep district facilities updated, and creates manageable debt spread over many years with series of bonds being retired regularly. This strategy creates pre-planned opportunities to structure debt without increasing the tax rate. As previous bonds are paid off and population grows, the district's debt load decreases and bonding capacity increases, allowing for the approval of additional capital bonds while maintaining the current tax rate. If the 2019 capital bond is approved, projections indicate the district could go out for another capital bond within 5 years if there is a need to do so.
Q: How crowded are West Linn-Wilsonville schools?
A: During the 2018-19 school year, the School Board and Long Range Planning Committee contracted Flo Analytics to conduct a 10-year enrollment forecast as part of the district’s update of the district’s Long Range Plan. That enrollment forecast shows anticipated increases of more than 1,000 students in the next 10 years. Enrollment at West Linn High School eclipsed 1,850 students this school year, with projections showing anticipated enrollment of more than 2,050 students by 2028. Enrollment at Wilsonville High School is currently more than 1,200, with projections showing an increase to more than 1,700 students by 2028. These projections at the high school level exceed existing learning space available at both high schools.
Q: What is the capacity of our existing schools?
A: In anticipation of a potential capital bond, the Long Range Planning Committee calculated the learning space capacities of existing West Linn-Wilsonville schools in the fall of 2018. Using a square-foot per student method, district staff and DOWA-IBI architects studied each school floorplan, preferred class size, academic programs, and school day schedules to calculate learning space capacities for all schools.
By recalibrating how buildings are used in West Linn-Wilsonville — including the addition of preschool at many primary schools as well as expanded CTE courses and arts programs at the secondary level — learning space capacities accurately reflect the recommended number of students WLWV schools can serve.
The update showed an increase to learning space enrollment capacities by a total of 323 students at the primary level, an increase of 141 students at the middle level, and a decrease of 145 students at the high school level. Recent enrollment growth, in addition to enrollment forecasts conducted by Flo Analytics in 2017, show several schools are either over learning space capacities or are projected to be in the next 10 years.
To learn more about the calculation of school educational capacities, please review page 41 of the district’s Long Range Plan. To learn more about 10-year enrollment projections, please visit the District Website.
Q: What is the $7.19 million OSCIM Grant and what does that mean for the 2019 bond?
A: In July, the West Linn-Wilsonville School District was awarded the State’s OSCIM Grant should the district pass the 2019 capital bond in the upcoming November election. The Oregon School Improvement Matching Grant (OSCIM) was awarded in the amount of $7,192,506. This money would go toward projects at the existing Athey Creek Middle School site and at Wood Middle School. If the bond does not pass, the district would not receive these funds. Grant money would return to the State and be reallocated to districts going out for bonds in May 2020.
Q: How much stadium seating and parking will be added at West Linn High School?
A: The project estimate of $8.3 million would fund an increase of both stadium seating and parking at West Linn High School. West Linn Community Development Code requires one parking space for every 8 feet of bleacher seating. If 8 feet of bench can seat 4 people, this increment would add one parking space. To accommodate an additional 1,000 spectators, there would need to be an additional 250 parking spaces built at West Linn High School. With a budget set at $8.3 million, district and City staff would design seating and parking to match the project budget in compliance with City Code. Currently, West Linn High School has the maximum number of parking spaces allowed by West Linn City Code. Increasing the size of the stadium would allow for the construction of additional parking spaces.
Q: How will traffic around the new Athey Creek Middle School at Dollar Street in West Linn be mitigated?
A: The West Linn-Wilsonville School District contracted with DKS Traffic Engineers to conduct a preliminary traffic study of both the current Athey Creek site and the proposed new location on Willamette Falls Drive with a focus on the number of students who could walk or bike to school in the new location, as well as the effect that a smaller number of vehicles might have. The preliminary traffic study produced the following information regarding the potential construction of a new middle school in the Willamette Neighborhood:
- About 25% of the new middle school enrollment can walk or bike to school.
- There could be a decrease in overall neighborhood traffic due to students walking vs riding in cars.
- Fewer overall vehicle miles will be traveled compared to the current Athey site, including those along Willamette Falls Drive.
- There will be no middle school buses in the neighborhood.
- Access to the new middle school will be taken off Willamette Falls Drive (not Dollar Street).
- A traffic signal at the school entrance could be proposed to provide a protected location for students to cross Willamette Falls Drive.
- With a 20 mph school speed zone on Willamette Falls Drive, traffic would be slowed and could deter non-West Linn commuter traffic.
- Construction of a new middle school will include significant street improvements along Willamette Falls Drive and Dollar Street for vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians.
- A Safe-Routes-To-School plan would be prepared that would identify pedestrian and bicycle safety improvements that would be constructed as part of the school project.
Now that the bond has passed, a formal traffic study will be commissioned to inform the design of the new school and make recommendations for necessary road improvements to assure safe and efficient traffic management.
Q: Why wasn't a middle school built on the Dollar Street site previously?
A: In the mid-1990s, prior to much of the current housing and retail development that now exists in the Dollar Street and Willamette area, the district proposed to build Rosemont Ridge Middle School on the Dollar Street property. Preliminary architectural studies confirmed that the 22-acre site could support a middle school. But between the challenge of city utilities that weren't yet fully developed and the City's interest in promoting development up on Rosemont Road, the district purchased the land where the current Rosemont Ridge Middle School was built in 1999. The Dollar Street property has been part of the district's land bank since then.
Q: What would be different about this new Athey Creek Middle School than the current school?
A: The school program and curriculum will be the same and consistent with all West Linn-Wilsonville middle schools. The building will be built a little larger to accommodate future growth in West Linn, without having to redraw boundaries that send families who live in West Linn to a school in Wilsonville. The district frequently hears from families that they like their children to attend a school in their neighborhood or at least in their city. Given the location and setting, it will be a unique architectural design to fit in with the community.