By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Bond committee getting good feedback

WILLAMINA — Ron Smith, co-chair of the Strong Schools — Strong Community Bond Committee, said Tuesday night that most people he spoke with at Willamina’s Old Fashioned Fourth of July Celebration expressed strong encouragement for a bond measure the school district plans to place on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Teams of committee members spent the day at a downtown location answering questions and handing out bond-related information. The participants were Elementary School Principal Carrie Zimbrick, Greg Anderson, Alyssa Eisele, Sabrina Eisele, Cori Farmer, Connie and Steve Bobb and Barbara and Ron Smith.

Alyssa Eisele is a Willamina High grad now working for the district, while her sister is a high school student. That helped provide some youth perspecive.

“There were a lot of positive folks and a few naysayers,” Smith said.

He said his main goal was clearing up misconceptions. For example, some people believe the district sold the old high school property for $1. Sheridan businessman Dick Paay actually paid $400,000.

“Some people have the old school mentality,” Farmer said. “They think we should hire a new superintendent. They don’t think we know what we are doing.

“On the flip side, there were people who said, ‘Tell me more.’ A lot of people are passionate about this.”

Farmer said it was exciting to hear people ask when construction might start, assuming voters approve the bond. She said it was also exciting to hear people ask what they could do to help.

The money would be used for:

n Replacement of a pair of old classroom modulars with two new, double-classroom modulars on the Oaken Hills Drive campus, serving grades 5-6. They should last 20 to 25 years, replacing deteriorating modulars built in 1978.

n Construction of an ag and woodworking shop featuring two classrooms, serving students in grades 7-12.

n Repair of the track, completion of the baseball/softball complex and relocation of the football stadium to the campus, complete with a covered grandstand and lights. The baseball, football and softball fields will be natural grass with quality drainage systems. A concession stand, restrooms and sidewalks are included in this phase of the project.

A Little League field is also part of the plan. The Tri-Cities Little League organization has given the district $25,000 to develop a field.

The high school is currently playing baseball, football and softball games on the old school site. The district wants new facilities developed on the Oaken Hills campus to avoid having to lease facilities back.

The track on the Oaken Hills campus is about 30 years old and badly deteriorated.

Furthermore, the district continues to pay liability insurance and some utility costs for the old high school facility, and must continue to pay until the district has completely vacated the premises.

The committee will meet next at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 13.

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