REDMOND, Ore. - Redmond's M.A. Lynch Elementary School could be reconstructed on its play field next door, if a possible school bond measure passes, providing some significant improvements. The school is just over 50 years old, and officials say it's safe, but that the need for major changes are necessary.
The school would be torn down, but not before building its modern replacement next door on the same property, thus keeping the Lynch community intact.
Over the years, in the current school building, classrooms have been split in half, windows boarded up, and new heaters have been placed inside the building through the roof, which compromises its structure.
"Lynch was built to a lesser standard," said Redmond schools Superintendent Mike McIntosh.
"Is it safe? Absolutely. I attended here as a child, I've been principal here for eight years, and now the superintendent," McIntosh said. "I think it is absolutely safe. I would send my kids here -- in fact, they would come here."
Nonetheless, McIntosh said the building is just getting too old, and it's time to start over. Part of the district's proposed bond measure includes reconstructing and replacing the entire school.
The current building has limited educational space, a maze of hallways, leaky roofs, low ceilings and no double-entry system, among other issues.
"The building itself is a challenge, and it's a challenge educationally, with the way it is divided up," said Principal Rayna Nordstrom. "The whole center of our school has classrooms that are in boxes without windows."
Heavy snowfall last winter forced the school to send students home on some occasions.
"Last winter was tough," Nordstrom said. "We had the ceilings, with the snow load, lowered down to where we couldn't open some of our doors. We could only open them part-way."
Basically, school officials say the current building is not efficient, and the structure has a short lifespan.
"To replace some of the equipment in this building, you have to cut a hole in the roof and lower it in with a crane, and seal the roof back up," McIntosh said.
The superintendent also said replacing the school would be more cost-effective than repairing and renovating it.
One idea for the replacement structure would be creating community-style classrooms. Kids could spend more time with teachers and be in an area where the services they need are right in front of them.
If the school was replaced, the new building would stay on the same property, but it would go up on the current play field. Then, the current school site would become the new playground.
The next community meeting about the bond measure is Wednesday from 6-7:30 p.m. at Redmond High School. The fourth and final session is next Monday at Tumalo Community School, at the same time.