When trying to conceptualize a new school there’s no substitute for seeing the real thing. That’s why the Core Teams from Fairfield and Malabon visited two newer elementary schools in Salem that were designed by Bethel’s architects, Soderstrom.
The Core Teams, made up of volunteer staff and community members, saw for themselves how light and bright new schools can be. They learned more about school design and why certain parts of a school should be located in particular areas for both educational and operational efficiencies.
The Teams also witnessed how hallway pullout areas next to classrooms can be utilized as part of the instructional process.
Now they can use this knowledge to provide better input into the design of the new schools in Bethel.
After weeks of studying our security needs, closely comparing security cameras and recorders, and determining probable costs the District is ready to move ahead on the project that will enhance security in our schools.
A Request For Proposal has been posted that will likely attract interest from security companies from throughout the state. It calls for nearly 100 security cameras spread over nine District schools (excluding Fairfield and Malabon which will have cameras in their new schools).
The systems will allow for live and recorded viewing of the cameras, which will be vandal and weather resistant. The security camera system should be installed this summer in time for the start of the coming school year.
Combined with new classroom door locks that can be locked from the inside, the cameras will help to significantly improve basic security in Bethel schools.
A few weeks after being selected as the District’s architect, designers from Soderstrom Architects have met with Bethel staff to talk about creating new school buildings.
Henry Fitzgibbon and Andrew Burke listened to teachers at Willamette about a new Science addition at the school. It’s the first of many information sharing and gathering opportunities that will lead to modern Science classrooms at WHS.
The two architects also heard from the excited Fairfield and Malabon staffs, who are looking forward to new schools to replace their current buildings.
Smaller core teams from each school will include community members, and will continue to meet with architects from Soderstrom throughout the spring and summer to develop new elementary schools that meet the needs of the students, staff and the community.
The first community-wide meetings about the school designs are May 7th at Fairfield and May 8th at Malabon.
The Bethel School Board has enthusiastically approved the hiring of Soderstrom Architects, a Portland-based design firm.
Soderstrom, led by Principal Architect Henry Fitzgibbon, will design the new Fairfield and Malabon elementary schools and the new Science addition at Willamette High School.
The Bond Oversight Task Force was impressed with Soderstrom’s resume, but also its ability to design schools that fit particular neighborhoods while still being functional, efficient, modern and inviting. The Task Force was captivated with a number of architectural firms’ proposals and the final two firms in contention were very, very close.
Soderstrom will be seeking public input on the design, and construction on all three projects could begin next winter. Bids have not yet been sought from Contractors or Engineering firms.
Submissions from 15 architectural firms are now being graded by Bethel’s Bond Oversight Task Force.
The architects are proposing to design all or portions of Bethel’s school construction projects, including new Malabon and Fairfield elementary schools, and new science classrooms at Willamette High School.
Smaller projects include repairs or upgrades such as school roofing jobs.
The top candidates will be invited for interviews before the selected architect(s) will be announced. That will signal the start of the exciting design phase of the school projects.
It’s the Bethel group in charge of determining which subjects need new classroom textbooks, which subjects should get new textbooks first, and when those new textbooks should be purchased.
The Curriculum Adoption Task Force was created after voters approved the Bethel bond measure to pay for new textbooks.
The Task Force, made up of Bethel staff members from every level, studied how long it’s been since each subject adopted new textbooks.
They also examined the Oregon Department of Education’s textbook adoption cycle, and Bethel’s student test scores broken down by subject.
The Curriculum Adoption Task Force will forward its recommendations to the District’s Curriculum Committee, which will determine the precise books to adopt for Bethel students.
Replacing all the computers throughout the district is just one of the goals of the Bethel Bond Technology Task Force.
The group of Bethel educators is determining how to best use more than $3 million from the Bethel Bond Measure to enhance technology in our schools.
Before computers are purchased extensive infrastructure upgrades need to be in place, including hundreds of wireless hubs throughout all Bethel schools.
Core switches, improved power supplies and new servers must also be installed to handle the new computers that will come online.
It’s estimated that new computers can be successfully introduced beginning in January 2014.
The Technology Task Force is also considering the timeline, costs, selection, installation, assessment, and training with new technology throughout the school district.
The turnout was impressive. 50 representatives of architectural and engineering firms showed up at a meeting about Bethel’s three school building projects.
The event provided architects and engineers a brief overview of the district’s intention to build new Fairfield and Malabon elementary schools and add science classrooms at Willamette High School.
The meeting was followed by tours of the three sites.
Architects must have their proposals submitted by February 12th. The top candidates will be interviewed by a selection committee before the winning architect(s) is chosen.
Actual school designs will be developed after the architect(s) has been hired.
In a key step toward starting its major bond projects, Bethel School District has posted a Request for Proposal (RFP) for architectural services. The chosen firm(s) will design replacements for Fairfield and Malabon Elementary Schools, and the building of a science addition at Willamette High School.
Bethel’s $49.5 million bond was passed with a 73% Yes vote in November 2012, the highest level of support in district history. It will not increase anyone’s current property tax rate but will provide for facility, security and academic improvements at every Bethel school.
Fairfield and Malabon, Bethel’s oldest elementary schools, will be completely rebuilt on the schools’ properties and then the old buildings will be demolished. Willamette’s new science classrooms will be an addition to the high school campus.
Following the record-setting public support for the Bethel Bond Measure in November 2012, Bethel School District is now moving ahead with plans to implement the changes made possible through the bond.
In the short time since voters approved the $49.5 million Bethel bond the school district has begun creating key Task Forces in order to move ahead with wise and careful planning:
- The Curriculum Implementation Task Force will determine the best approach to textbook adoption, including which subjects should get new textbooks first, in what order, the timeline, and more.
- The Technology Implementation Task Force will create a timeline with phases for implementation of technology in our classrooms. It will determine the costs, develop and use needs-assessments, aid in the selection of technologies, determine training needs and training solutions, and more.
- The Facility Upgrades Task Force will be responsible for the coordination of minor projects including security cameras and door locks, and the replacement of roofs, windows and carpet. It will develop timelines, maintain fiscal management, and provide oversight of quotes, bidding and the RFP processes.
- The Major Construction Task Force will oversee the management of the Fairfield, Malabon and Willamette projects, ensure appropriate input from stakeholders, be responsible for cost containment oversight, plan for the major construction, and more.
- The Bond Implementation Task Force will have oversight of all the other Task Forces, make day-to-day decisions, ensure strong fiscal management, and provide reports to the School Board.
These groups are in the process of being formed and will begin meeting in January. Send your questions to Pat McGillivray, Community Relations for Bethel School District.