Keizertimes. (Salem, Or.) 1979-current, March 10, 2017, Page PAGE A7, Image 7

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fi elds, replacing the tennis
courts, adding parking and re-
moving the portable units en-
tirely, but Wolfe said redesign
specifi cs would be hammered
out by a master planning team
at McNary when the process
reaches the point of execution.
If recommendations from
the Long Range Facility Plan-
ning Task Force were to re-
ceive unaltered approval from
the Salem-Keizer School Dis-
trict Board, McNary would
see an additional 18 classrooms
constructed. That number in-
cludes 14 general instruction
rooms, one additional science
lab, another classroom for
STEM (Science, Technology,
Engineering or Math) instruc-
tion, and two career technical
education (CTE) classrooms.
Some of the documenta-
tion the task force worked
from included more specifi c
recommendations for career
technical programs, including:
• Remodeling or adding
facilities to locate business
management, graphic design,
information technology and
media production programs
closer together to foster more
• Remodeling the culinary
arts facility for expansion.
• Increasing space for the
automotive program.
• Additional instruction for
each of the above areas.
• And creating a new pro-
gram in sports medicine.
All together the CTE pro-
grams could serve about 1,800
students at MHS alone.
The task force recom-
mended pursuing a general
obligation bond to make the
necessary upgrades. The total
cost to cover all the recom-
mendations throughout the
district will be about $550
million. It will be up to the
Salem Keizer School Board,
which will receive the fi nal
report recommendations at its
March 14 meeting, to decide
whether to pursue any, all or
part of that amount.
How quickly the process
moves forward will depend on
the direction of the board.
“The next step in the pro-
“I think if we were smart
with that space, we could
get hundreds of more kids in
there,” Jespersen said. “That’s
the type of thing I want to
look at. We have far more kids
that want it (weight training)
than we can offer. If we just
changed the confi guration,
which we’re starting to work
on, that would make a big dif-
ference. It’s going to be over
$100,000 to reconfi gure that
space but when it’s done, it’s
going to be world class and
it’s going to provide more kids
the opportunity to get in that
weight room.”
Another example is the mu-
sic wing, which currently has a
large square hallway that takes
space away from a too small or-
chestra room.
“There’s an enormous hall-
way that doesn’t make any
sense,” Jespersen said. “Bring
that wall in, you can add six to
eight feet of depth into that or-
chestra room and you still have
access into the music wing. It’s
things like that, if we just make
some improvements, we can
maximize our space.”
McNary also doesn’t have
enough science labs and those
it does have were built with the
original school in 1964, when
class sizes were much smaller.
One science teacher has
classes in three different rooms
while those instructors are on
their planning period.
“We have a number of sci-
ence teachers that are teach-
ing science in classrooms that
aren’t really science class-
rooms,” Jespersen said. “Sci-
ence classrooms require water,
multiple sinks, gas lines. We
can’t provide that right now
and science is such an integral
part of what we do. That has to
change. We’re not serving kids
in the best way.”
While newer lab stations
are built against the wall in a
U-shape or horseshoe, Mc-
Nary’s take up more than half
of its science rooms with kids
standing butt to butt. The rest
of the space is crammed with
“The way the class is de-
signed I can either have seat
Propmrty currmntly
ownmd by St. Edward
Catholic Church.
Where would McNary expand?
Thm Cmltic campus is currmntly landlockmd,
which mmans thm district would nmmd to
purchasm additional propmrty.
Thm most likmly spacm is acrmagm bmhind
St. Edward Catholic Church and north of
Thm Arbor at Avammrm Court. District offi cials
mstimatm at lmast four acrms is nmmdmd and thmrm
is slightly morm than that bmhind thm church.
Thm map abovm shows whmrm it is availablm.
Purchasm would dmpmnd on thm district and
church agrmming to tmrms and thm votmr
approval of a gmnmral obligation bond.
cess, typically, is that staff will
conduct a bond feasibility
study,” Wolfe said.
Projected enrollment in-
creases are expected to im-
pact Keizer’s McNary High
School and Salem’s McKay
High School most heav-
ily. Both schools already have
enrollments in excess of the
buildings capacities, even with
portable classrooms stationed
at the sites.
McKay is at 135 percent of
its capacity without portables,
McNary is at 119 percent
without portables. Those fi g-
ures drop precipitously with
the use of portable classrooms,
but both are still well over ca-
If nothing changes in the
coming decade, McKay will
balloon to 161 percent of its
capacity. McNary will rise to
130 percent of its capacity at
its peak in 2025, according to
population analysis provided
by Portland State University.
Aside from needing more
space in common areas there
are also specifi c classroom
needs at various schools, like
science labs. The lack of sci-
ence labs has a direct affect
on instruction available. At the
middle school level, students
frequently take only one se-
mester of science per year be-
cause of the lack of facilities.
This is at a time when STEM
(Science, Technology, Engi-
neering and Math) classes are
receiving increased emphasis
While the task force
worked specifi cally on issues
of capacity and infrastruc-
ture, there have as yet been
no discussions on staffi ng for
all the additional classrooms
and spaces. What the district
can afford in terms of staffi ng
will also be a consideration
when it comes to pursuing a
bond or prioritizing the fi nal
recommendation for the task
In addition to McNary, the
fi nal recommendations from
the task force affect six other
Keizer schools. Here’s the
break down for schools other
than McNary:
• Cummings Elementary
School – adding or renovat-
ing cafeteria facilities.
• Gubser
School – adding or renovat-
ing gym and cafeteria facilities,
and adding three classrooms.
• Keizer
School – adding or renovat-
ing gym, cafeteria and library
facilities, and adding four
• Kennedy Elementary
School – adding or renovat-
ing cafeteria facilities, adding
four classrooms.
• Claggett Creek Middle
School – adding or renovat-
ing cafeteria and library facili-
ties, adding two science labs.
School – adding one science
time or I can have lab time,”
said Frank Hanson, who
teaches chemistry at McNary.
“If you look at square foot-
age, this is a gigantic room. If
you look at workable space, it’s
a tiny room. Put them (labs)
against the wall and we could
essentially double the space.
If they redid that, the room
would be gigantic and would
be able to do anything you
wanted. This could be an gar-
gantuan, awesome room and I
wouldn’t even have a problem
housing more kids in it. It’s
just the design fl aw, building
for 1964 versus 2017.”
Hanson said the labs also
aren’t safe. While turning con-
centrated acid into diluted,
Hanson has twice spilled the
chemical on himself. He was
wearing proper attire—gloves,
goggles and an apron—but the
acid got onto his pants.
“I have a nice pair of pants
that have holes all the way
down it,” Hanson said. “If I
wouldn’t have run and stuck
my leg in the sink, it would
have got to me.”
Hanson went to a sink be-
cause the science labs don’t
have chemical showers.
“One lawsuit from a chem-
ical burn of a student could
end it,” Hanson said. “If you
had the proper equipment and
someone got hurt, that’s cause
and effect, in the class some-
times accidents happen but
if you don’t have the proper
equipment to check the stu-
dent if something happens,
you make yourself liable.”
Jespersen doesn’t want
Salem-Keizer to build a new
high school in the district but
instead supports the idea of
getting each school at 2,200
students and reinvesting in
the current buildings. For
McNary, that could mean re-
modeling its science labs and
weight room while also ac-
quiring adjacent land to build
more classrooms.
“I think instead of just go-
ing out and building a new
high school, we reinvest dollars
into our existing schools,” he
said. “We build out a wing if
we need to. We think creative-
ly with the space we have. We
can make it work. It’s going to
take money, but not as much as
a new high school.”
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