School improvements enter design phase

David Mount of the architectural firm Mahlum presented a slideshow of plans for the Orcas Island School District campus during an open house on March 6.

The project is entering into the design phase, which is anticipated to run through October. The bidding process for a construction company will be in October and November, with construction starting in February 2019 and concluding that December.

After a bond request for $8 million failed to gain a super-majority by three votes during the February 2017 election, OISD’s school board returned to the drawing board with help from the community to devise a new plan. In June, the board added necessary improvements to the bond request, raising it from $8 million to $10.8 million. The board also removed field upgrades from the bond, creating a $1.36 million levy for field improvements and to prepare the area for a new track.

Various projects in the bond are already underway or have already been completed. The school had electronic doors installed throughout the campus and has secured a contractor to install the heating and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which will be replaced while school is out of session this summer.

From March to August 2019, the $1,353,637 new music and multi-purpose room will be built. It’s adding 2,300 square feet, relocating music classes from the existing space in the elementary school into this new area. At the same time, the $1,979,189 internal and external remodel of the old gym including new paint, siding, seismic, mechanical and electric upgrades will be done.

“Really, just doing some improvements to bring it back to life,” Mount said. “We’re happy to be able to save the old floor and refinish that. It’s in good shape.”

Preliminary field preparation, funded by the $1.36 million levy, will begin prior to March 2019, with the track itself being constructed between April and December 2019. The high school parking lot upgrades will be done at the same time. A $1.2 million donation made to the district by Phyllis Henigson and her late husband Bob will cover the cost of constructing the track and annual maintenance. Additional high school upgrades, including plumbing and finishes, is scheduled to be performed between June and August 2019.

“That’s our hope and it seems like a reasonable timeline for the work that needs to be done,” Mount said.