By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

Willamina will send bond to voters

“People are interested,” said Johnson, who has displayed a high degree of optimism in recent months. “We will pass this and break ground next spring.”

Board member Ron Smith said he definitely feels this is the direction the board and the district must take at this time.

“It’s a tight date, but it’s feasible,” said Superintendent Gus Forster. “We can get some facts, some talking points out to the community. If this passes, we can sell the bonds, bid the work, accept a package and break ground.”

The board hasn’t yet set a dollar amount, but is committed to keeping the cost under $5 million. The board hasn’t yet set a cost-per-thousand figure either, but is committed to holding it under $1.

At an April 30 work session, Forster said he had reviewed various bids. He said he had come up with a list carrying a price tag of $4.594 million.

Projects on the district’s wish list include:

n Replacement of a pair of old single-room modulars with a pair of new two-room modulars, one with a crawlspace and the other with a daylight basement, expected to last 20 to 25 years.

n Construction of a 70-by-120 steel-frame ag and woodworking shop.

n Installation of a synthetic track, construction of a football stadium and development of baseball and softball fields.

The high school is currently playing football, baseball and softball games on its old Washington Street site, which now belongs to Sheridan businessman Dick Paay. The district wants to develop new facilities on the Oaken Hills campus as soon as possible.

One thing the district must resolve is a water pressure issue. The district needs a flow of 1,500 gallons per minute to meet code, but is only at 1,000.

The board has stressed how important it will be to get the word out in support of the bond. The board wants to be totally transparent regarding what patrons will be paying for.

At the April work session, high school teacher Bart Baldwin said he would go door-to-door to speak with voters, and even help register people if necessary. That’s the kind of help the board is looking for.

In other action:

n Forster presented certificates of service to Smith and Board Chair Loren Wasson, whose terms expire June 30.

n The district sold used bus parts to its transportation provider, First Student Inc., for $6,000.

The board approved putting the money into a scholarship fund starting with the 2013-14 school year. Scholarships ranging between $250 and $500 will be given to an undetermined number of graduating seniors.

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