BEND, Ore. - With about two weeks left before ushering in the new school year, a few Bend-La Pine schools still look more like a construction site, with torn-up halls, heavy equipment and a track stripped to the bare ground.
"We'll be right down to the wire, but we'll be ready," Project Manager Hal Beumel said Tuesday.
Beumel said some crews will be working 24/7 to get the jobs done in time for that first day. In all, the district is crossing off about 140 projects from its to-do list, paid for by using a chunk of a voter-approved $96 million school bond.
From Summit High's new wood shop and computer lab, to a brand new track and remodeled gym at Mountain View High, major construction at four of the schools is not only upgrading outdated looks, but making space more relevant to today's learning standards.
"Program changes -- things change, buildings become crowded and you have to react to those things," Beumel said.
At Buckingham Elementary, a $1.7 million renovation is also about safety.
"The reason that we wanted to do the remodel is for safety and accessibility," Principal Sunshine Dandurand said. "Our entrance will be much safer, so our secretaries will see who is coming in and out. We'll be able to know who's in our building at all times."
Students will go through two sets of doors to get into the halls. Once school has begun, the last set of doors will be locked. Visitors will have to go through an attached front office in order to get access to the classrooms and hallways.
"Everyone's very excited for a new feel and an entrance that's safe and beautiful," Dandurand said.
Other projects on the district's plate include a new elementary and middle school, set to be completed and open in the fall of 2015.