New school is on time and on budget
Last updated 9/5/2023 at 9:39am
The new Sisters Elementary School will (SES) open on time, and come in on budget - despite the pressures of inflation.
Curt Scholl and the Sisters School District (SSD) team offered a tour of the construction of the new elementary school located across McKinney Butte Road from the high school. The new elementary will be 80,000 square feet, including the mechanical areas, with an additional 7,000 square feet, including the ball fields.
Scholl offered a tour to elementary school teachers alongside SES Principal Joan Warburg last Thursday, August 31, to check out the progress on the building and get an idea of the layout as it's being constructed.
On May 18, 2021, Sisters voters passed a $33,800,000 general obligation bond to pay for the construction costs of a new elementary school within Sisters School District (SSD) and related support and maintenance costs associated with the District's 2016 Master Plan.
According to the SSD website: "The new 'Shared Campus' location for the elementary school is a critical component of the 2016 Master Plan. It will allow for increased safety, transportation, operational, and educational benefits for all the students in the district. Fifth grade will return to the elementary school location, better aligned with educational best practices and providing additional middle school capacity."
The building is a two-story design. The first floor houses kindergarten, first and second grades and the second third, fourth, and fifth. The fifth grade has been at Sisters Middle School for a decade and is returning to the elementary school building. Each grade level will have four classrooms arranged pod-style around a commons.
The building incorporates several amenities, including student sensory spaces, calm-down rooms, and staff offices on each floor. There will also be a specific STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) classroom and a second-floor art classroom with a pottery kiln.
All three schools will have seven sports courts, all within walking distance.
The entire building will be fenced, along Highway 242 and McKinney Butte. They are still working out the transportation aspect of the drop-off and pickup locations without spending extra money on revamping the highway. Oregon Department of Transportation advised them that they wouldn't have to revamp the highway layout if there were a through road across 242 from Edgington to the new school. They've extended the school zone area due to the concern about speed coming off of 242.
"We will see where the pressure points are when we start getting people in and open up and work with parents as we go," said Scholl.
Elementary school teachers were able to see the structured bones of the building before their move into the building in 2024.
The building process is scheduled to be substantially completed by May 2024, and the first batch of students officially start at the new school in September 2024.
The District is currently on budget in the building process. With inflation and supply chain elements smoothing out, they hope to add the school-grounds greenhouse back in after having to cut it due to budget restrictions.