By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina board told to consider bond measure

WILLAMINA — Superintendent Gus Forster told the Willamina School Board this week that it should consider putting a bond measure before the voters in the near future so the Oaken Hills Drive campus can be completed.

The district now has its high school, middle school and elementary school students all attending classes at the site.

It has erected a 13,000-square-foot multi-purpose building designed to house the middle school physical education program, host middle school volleyball and basketball games, house high school wrestling and weightlifting facilities and provide recreational gym space for elementary, middle school and high school students. It’s intended to be available for community use, too.

The district has also moved its administrative office into a 2,000-square-foot double-wide manufactured home on the site. That is affording the staff much more room than it has been accustomed to over the years.

“You need to decide what you want the campus to look like,” Forster said. “Decide what you need, what you would like to have and what you want in order to be No. 1.

“Facilities and student achievement go hand-in hand. Facilities can foster and boost student learning.”

The goal is to build an ag/woodshop on the campus and provide a centralized location for all athletic events.

The district sold the old high school building and surrounding property, which includes baseball fields, softball fields and a football stadium, to Sheridan businessman Dick Paay.

The Bulldog baseball and softball teams will play their 2013 seasons rent-free, and a five-year agreement allowing the football team free use of the stadium has three more years to run. After that, the district will have to lease facilities at rates yet to be determined.

The hope is to get the baseball, football and softball fields relocated to the Oaken Hills during the coming year. Any plans for a new football field would have to include lighting and, in all likelihood, a permanent grandstand with locker room facilities, so that’s a more daunting, costly and potentially time-consuming proposition.

Willamina hasn’t hosted a track and field meet in years, because its track is in disrepair. So a refurbished track is also on the district’s wish list.

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