By Associated Press • 

Construction starts on new Warm Springs school

BEND — Construction has started on a new K-8 school in Warm Springs that will shorten the commute for many kids.

Middle school students who live on the Warm Springs Reservation have had to commute to Madras because the reservation has no school for them.

“Some of those students spend close to two hours each day riding the bus,” said Superintendent Rick Molitor of the Jefferson County School District. “So the new school brings about huge implications for them. Anybody who's a parent would rather have their kids attend school closer to the community.”

The $21.4 million school is scheduled to be ready for the 2014-15 academic year, the Bulletin newspaper of Bend reported. It will replace a K-5 school built in the 1930s — the oldest in the Jefferson County district. Molitor said there has been talk of a new school for at least 25 years.

Plans call for the 80,000-square-foot school to have 27 classrooms that will serve 720 children. It will also have a gymnasium.

The school district and the Warm Springs reservation agreed to split the cost, and the Agriculture Department announced Friday it will put $6.8 million toward the project.

“The really unique and special component of the school has been the part between the tribe and school district,” Dave Fishel, a project manager with the Wenaha Group, which is overseeing the construction. “We do a lot of projects for tribes, and we do a lot of projects for school districts, but this is a really unique partnership between the two entities. They've worked really well together, and it's been fun to be a part of that.”

BBT Architects designed the school, and Kirby-Nagelhout is the general contractor. The school located near the Warm Springs Museum will be constructed using solar panels and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system to cut down on costs.


Information from: The Bulletin,

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