La PINE, Ore. - The Bend-La Pine School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the purchase of two sites for new elementary and middle schools in the Bend area -- and parents say it's a good move.
The elementary site is located between Reed Market Road and Brosterhous Road, east of Third Street. The new middle school site is located off Crosby Road in Bend, adjacent to William E. Miller Elementary and Summit High schools.
"It's rewarding to live in a community that supports local schools," board member Peggy Kinkade said in a school district announcement. "These land deals represent the next big step in our investment in education. Construction of two new schools will address our growing capacity needs while providing jobs to stimulate the local economy."
Chief Operations Officer Brad Henry said enrollment has grown by more than 1,000 new students in the last five years alone.
"The foresight of the 2011 Sites and Facilities committee to recommend the construction of these new schools is commendable," Henry said. "With more than half of our schools near or over capacity today, and growth expected to continue, the new schools will provide much needed relief."
Parents we talked to welcomed the news.
"I think the idea of a new middle school -- that's an obvious answer, yeah we absolutely need it," parent Steve Porino said earlier. "The other one's overcrowded. Where it goes, I'm not sure I have an opinion one way or another."
"I think it would be great, and it makes sense -- you would have a complex you know, a middle school, grade school, high school all in the same place. I have three kids one in each," parent Greg Busick said.
Henry said work to design the new schools is underway and the buildings could be open as soon as the fall of 2015.
"Today is a major milestone for our community and for the future of Bend-La Pine Schools," he added. "We look forward to breaking ground next year, as we kick off the construction of these new schools."
ABOUT THE NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SITE
The new elementary school will be sited on a 12.5 acre parcel of ‘shovel ready' land located between Reed Market Road and Brosterhous Road, east of Third Street in Bend. The land will be purchased from Lands Bend, LLC for $2.6 million. The school site is situated within a larger 40-acre parcel slated for development into a neighborhood.
ABOUT THE NEW MIDDLE SCHOOL SITE
The new middle school will be sited off of Crosby Road and adjacent to William E. Miller Elementary and Summit High schools in Bend. The district is authorized to purchase up to 35 acres from Miller Tree Farm, LLC at $25,000 per acre. The total cost of the land purchase is not to exceed $875,000.
ABOUT THE 2013 SCHOOL BOND
In May, voters approved a bond measure to authorize Bend-La Pine Schools to sell $96 million in bonds to fund the construction of two new schools to address continued enrollment growth and 138 other safety, maintenance, and classroom addition projects on the community's behalf. Citizens in the Bend, La Pine and Sunriver areas approved the bond request with the highest ‘yes' vote in history.