There has been a lot of construction work taking place over the summer getting ready for students in the fall. This is the regular seasonal rhythm for the Lincoln County School District. But this summer we have brought on some of the most meaningful upgrades necessary for the safety of our students and their ability to utilize space for learning at both Taft Elementary School in Lincoln City and the Newport High School ECEL (Education for Community Employment and Life) program wing in Newport.
Dr. Karen Gray, Superintendent of Lincoln County Schools, oversaw the grant process and prioritization of the work done. She recently visited both schools and shared her vision, “The icing on the cake of these impressive remodels and improvements will be the joy on the student’s faces as they enter the Taft Elementary School and the learning environment of Newport High School. The change is dramatic and they will feel the pride that we share in our schools which can only motivate them further to do their best in education and in life. Unfortunately, we have to delay that experience for the time being but we are ready.”
The remodel and seismic upgrades at Taft Elementary used $2,493,455 worth of funds awarded for seismic retrofits and improvements made possible through the Seismic Rehabilitation Grant Program (a state of Oregon competitive grant program that provides funding for the seismic rehabilitation of critical public buildings, particularly public schools and emergency services facilities) along with $100,000 worth of School Construction Excise Tax (which is money collected on new residential and non-residential construction Senate Bill 1036) that helps Oregon school districts pay for a portion of the cost of new or expanded school facilities.
The classroom and facilities remodel and upgrades at Newport High School used $250,000 from the School Construction Excise Tax. Becca Bostwick, Principal of Taft Elementary, is enthusiastic, “In addition to creating a functional and more efficient updated workspace for our busy office environment, the renovated office at Taft Elementary will allow for increased safety with our new double vestibule as well as additional windows at the front counter will provide increased security and a create a welcoming entry for families and visitors. The priority of the Seismic upgrade at Taft Elementary was based on student and staff safety, which include a newly retrofitted gym, surrounding halls, entrance, and exterior areas that were designed and engineered to be seismically sound."
Taft Elementary work includes a new vestibule for entryway allowing staff to see and approve entry for visitors, new roof over the gym, new gym floor, media center new carpet and ceiling, new storage room off the hallway, exit and handrail upgrade off the gym, new sheetrock and removal of bricks from entryway down the hall, and a new office for student work visible to the Principal and Vice-Principal.
The other construction work is taking place at the Newport High School ECEL Program wing. The space for the students and staff have been thoughtfully reorganized to use space to better work for the education of students. Additions include a new shower, new laundry facilities, new kitchen upgrade, new sewing room, new exercise room, upgraded lockers and storage, new wiring, and sheetrock.
SLC Teachers at NHS were included in the design process and interviewed to ensure their vision and daily needs were considered and incorporated into the new space. They shared their appreciation for the undertaking. Babe Brown, SLC Teacher, ECEL Program - Transition, Newport High School, “It has been such a positive experience working with Facilities and Maintenance (Rich Belloni and Darla Zagel). With their guidance and a 15-year vision, we have designed a safe, state of the art area. This area was designed for maximum use for the ECEL Program Students to learn through daily repetition.
Thank you to all who have made this possible.” Donna Norris, Jill Sellers, and Greta Zafforoni, also SLC Teachers for the program added respectively in the order listed, “What a wonderful transformation of space. Many hands and hearts making this happen,” “The remodel is so exciting. I feel so appreciative of how much our district has listened to us and provided us with an awesome learning environment for our students,” and “It is such a privilege to work in a district and community that places the needs of diverse learners as a top priority.”
Newport High School has been recognized by Special Olympics Oregon as a Special Olympics Unified Champion School for its efforts to provide inclusive sports and activities for students with and without disabilities. Reyna Mattson, Newport High School Principal helped guide the vision as well, "The space at Newport High has been completely redesigned to fit the special needs of our students. I look forward to having students back on campus to see the excitement and ownership of their new space."
In May of 2020, LCSD was awarded a grant for seismic upgrades worth $2,499,090 for Oceanlake Elementary. Lincoln County School District Schools have received over $9.4 million in Seismic Retrofit and Improvement Grant awards in the past 6 years: Toledo High School (2015), Newport High School (2017), Sam Case (2017), Taft Elementary School (2019) and Oceanlake Elementary School (2020).
Rich Belloni, Facilities Director has overseen all of these projects. He looks forward to doing more for the District and our students next summer. “ZCS Engineering has done a very professional job as our contracted architect and we are excited to work with them again on the Oceanlake project. DSL Builders has been our General Contractor for the first four projects. DSL has provided us with quality, on-time professional services in their work for our district; they will be invited along with other contractors to bid on the Oceanlake Elementary Seismic Retrofit and Improvement project to begin in the school year 2020-2021. We are both proud and very grateful to be the recipient of the Oregon State Grant Program’s funding to provide such critical needs in our facilities.”
Information and photos by LCSD