School board considers remodels to restrooms

DALLAS — Dallas School District is tapping the brakes on the multipurpose and new kitchen remodels at Lyle and Oakdale elementary schools.

That’s because the district may add restroom remodels to the project after the state and a superintendent’s committee issued guidance about restroom and locker room access for the transgender students and student privacy.

The Dallas School Board also had questions about the cost of moving the kitchens versus remodeling the current facilities.

Superintendent Michelle Johnstone said the Oregon Department of Education should be releasing its guidelines within a couple weeks. Incorporating that and the recommendation of the committee formed to look into the issue would delay final planning until at least late April.

Facilities Manager Kevin Montague said that would mean rushing to get the project ready for bid for work this summer, something he recommends against. Additionally, the architect on the project is now recommending putting the projects out to bid in December with construction in summer 2017.

“It just all came down to, we’re better off backing up and making sure that we do this right rather than pushing just so we can say we started in 2016.”

Montague said based on rough estimates, the cost of moving the kitchens wouldn’t be significantly more expensive than remodeling the current kitchens, which satisfied the board.

“It makes sense because I’ve witnessed at Oakdale through the years how that all functions and the lack of efficiency,” said board member Mike Bollman.

In other business, the district:

• Is expected to hear if it will receive a $1.492 million grant from the state of Oregon for a seismic upgrade at Whitworth Elementary School in the second week of April. The grant doesn’t require a financial “match” from the district.

“We’re still hoping our application for work to be done at Whitworth is selected,” Montague said. “I believe based on criteria, we have a strong application.”

If the grant is awarded, the work should take place in the summer of 2017.

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