Long Range Planning Committee Talks Bond Projects at September meeting

The West Linn-Wilsonville School District’s School Board appointed Long Range Planning Committee met Wednesday, Sept. 20 to celebrate the progress of its major bond projects as well as start the conversation surrounding future facilities work in the District.

Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) members first reviewed their completed 2014 Capital Bond work, including the status of Sunset Primary and Meridian Creek Middle School, which were ready and open for students on the first day of school Aug. 29. Operations Director Tim Woodley informed the LRPC that while it took tremendous efforts from operations staff, contractors, principals, and teachers, both schools opened without major issue.

He said some work still remains, but nothing that is noticeable to the naked eye or that affects student learning. The visitor parking lot and play field at Sunset will continue through the fall as will the track and field at Meridian Creek, which Woodley said should be seeded with grass this week.

“I’ve kind of learned over the years that if you start something in a good way it will carry on, and so getting everything right the first day sets up a pattern that’s successful into the future,” he said. “The buses were able to drop off kids smoothly, parents dropped of students without issue and everything just worked liked we hope it would at both schools.”

Woodley noted that the District worked on 52 different construction contracts during the summer months, which is indicative of the amount of work the District managed to get done. Of note, Wilsonville High School received a new secure and atheistically-pleasing entryway, Cedaroak Park Primary received a perimeter fence for safety during the school day, Wood Middle School saw its portable classrooms removed and parking lot repaved, and multiple schools received new roofs. Trillium Creek Primary also received two new classrooms, and Athey Creek Middle School received new floors in its commons area, new gym lights, and an updated stage among other District-wide and school projects.

Woodley added that in addition to facilities projects, the District also received a host of technology upgrades, including all of the IT work that went into opening two new schools. He commended IT Director Curtis Nelson and his team for working hard throughout the summer to make sure schools opened Aug. 29 without a technological glitch.

The Long Range Planning Committee

The Long Range Planning Committee then moved on to planning for the future. The LRPC discussed Davis Demographics, the firm that West Linn-Wilsonville has contracted with for several years, and the possibility of contracting a 10-year forecast of population demographics in the School District. LRPC member David Lake noted that projections that far into the future can’t predict what will happen with the economy or even how nearby developments might affect school enrollment and population numbers, but that it would be good information to have nonetheless.

Woodley added that Davis Demographics is already gearing up for another five-year study, so that the LRPC and School Board have the most up-to-date data when contemplating potential future school facilities. He also said that school capacities were something the LRPC should remain up-to-date on, as it’s another complicated and nuanced topic. Woodley explained that West Linn-Wilsonville has traditionally used capacity ranges at its schools, but that building capacity and educational capacities are different things.

Superintendent Kathy Ludwig agreed it was time to again think about school capacity, what that means, and how it can be conveyed to West Linn-Wilsonville families. She also updated the LRPC that she was in the process of putting together a study group, which will research high school options and cutting-edge programs. In particular, the study group will look at vocational learning possibilities, and high school options that best prepare students for post-high school in terms of college or career readiness.

The LRPC also talked about the potential need for another future bond, likely addressing West Linn-Wilsonville’s high schools. Those decisions remain far down the road, Woodley said, but the Long Range Planning members agreed that the time was now to start thinking about the future. The LRPC planned for further discussion at coming meetings before adjourning.


About the Long Range Planning Committee:

The Long Range Planning Committee is a School Board appointed seven-member citizen committee responsible for guiding the development of the Long Range Plan, that provides a rational framework for evaluating and addressing future school facility needs as the West Linn and Wilsonville areas grow. The West Linn-Wilsonville School District has a long-standing commitment to planning for the future and collaborating with the cities and counties within its boundaries.