Eagle Point Schools Seek to Spend $9 Million in ESSER Funds

April 19 – The Eagle Point School District 9 board is considering approving two major projects with US bailout money.

A new HVAC system at Eagle Point High School and a new classroom building at Table Rock Elementary School were discussed last week during a council business session. While CVC’s proposal will not be on the agenda for the next board meeting on April 27, Table Rock’s proposal will be.

Of the $9 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds likely to be approved by the Oregon Department of Education, $6 million would be used for Table Rock and high school.

“We are actually truly blessed and thrilled to be able to use some of this COVID-19 relief money for something that we just don’t have the capacity to use in our general budget,” said Emily McIntire, President. of the school board. , which boasted district business services manager Nick Hogan.

He noted that Eagle Point Schools has several smaller projects underway, but the Table Rock facility and the high school’s HVAC system are “by far the two largest.”

Table Rock Elementary officials would like an 8,000 square foot six-classroom building, which would be used in part to house a new pre-K program called Kindergarten Transition.

“They are our most needy students, but we don’t have space,” Hogan said. “If we’re looking for space, I’d rather have a little more than less. (Table Rock) is a little sore for space there.”

McIntire said parents needed child care and a new facility at Table Rock would help solve that problem.

“For the school to implement pre-K on campus, where kids would go straight into kindergarten, I just think it’s a great place for early learning and a great place to transition into early kindergarten,” she said.

The proposed faculty would be factory-built by Aumsville-based Modern Building Systems before being shipped to Table Rock, where it would be installed in sections.

“It’s a lot more profitable,” Hogan said. “It’s about half the cost of a normal building.”

Another building, much like the one to be installed by Modern Building Systems, already exists at Table Rock Elementary, Hogan added.

Eagle Point High School had needed HVAC system upgrades for some time, according to Hogan.

“It’s been a known need for a long time, and now that we have ESSR funding, we’d like to get the job done in the near future,” he said.

If installed, however, the new HVAC system would not be hospital grade.

“It’s much more complicated and expensive,” Hogan said. “We would install regular filters which would certainly help – like helping to relieve smoke in the air – but not to the same level as a hospital.”

“The goal is to provide better conditions for the classroom environment to improve the overall learning experience for students,” EPHS principal Heather Marinucci wrote in an email. “This is a substantial project with many details to discuss as we move forward, and I’m excited to be part of this conversation.”

McIntire emphasized the urgency of the project, saying, “it has to happen.”

“The HVAC isn’t a really glamorous thing to replace, but it’s necessary, and it’s very expensive,” she said.

Hogan noted that the ESSER funds – part of the US bailout signed by President Joe Biden last year – can only be used until 2024.

“It would definitely be easier if they gave us a longer window,” Hogan said.

His comments come as the Medford School District Board is set to approve a letter to the Oregon delegation in Washington, DC, asking Congress to extend the deadline for ESSER funding.

McIntire looks forward to further board discussions on both projects.

“These are all things that will benefit every child in our district, whether immediately or in the long term,” she said.

Contact journalist Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.

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