News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

SCSD replacing district office building

The Santiam Canyon School District (SCSD) is moving forward with the rebuilding of its main offices, capping off a period of significant facility improvements throughout the district.

SCSD contracted with WillScot in October of 2023 for the project, with demolition expected in February and construction expected to be completed by this summer.

Superintendent Todd Miller told The Canyon Weekly a new main office was long-overdue, but that student facilities always came first.

Now that Santiam Junior/Senior High has a new building and Santiam Elementary recently received major upgrades, Miller said it was time to address the administrative building.

“We have very secure stable buildings that are comfortable for kids, that are safe for kids,” said Miller, “ … Our schools are good, now it’s time to tackle this.”

The current main office was built in the mid-80s during construction of what is now Santiam Elementary, at the time Mill City Middle School, and was used as transitional classroom space. After construction finished the temporary building was vacant and sometime later the district’s main offices moved into the space, according to Miller.

He said the building was not meant to be used as an administrative office, nor was it meant to last, and the structure is now well past its intended lifecycle. 

Miller said there are ongoing problems such as the heat going out and water seeping through the roof and walls, and said the building is not worth the cost of keeping up with repairs.

Construction costs have been estimated at $1.17 million, with approximately $200,000 in site prep. Miller said this will be paid through a facilities savings account the district has been adding to over years to stay prepared for significant infrastructure needs.

Miller said the district anticipated needing these funds if the 2019 bond failed, but the bond passed and the funds were kept in reserve in case of bond construction overruns. 

The district then came into more infrastructure improvement dollars than it anticipated, between bond-related funding and pandemic relief dollars, and the facilities savings account sat unspent.

Miller said being able to pay out-of-pocket for a major facility project is a unique opportunity and one of the reasons the district began pursuing main office replacement now. 

He said the account will be “rather healthy” after the new building is finished and the district will continue investing into the account to stay ahead of major facility upgrades.

Main office staff will be relocated to a temporary trailer, or other district facilities as appropriate, during construction starting this month when demolition begins. 

Miller said he does not anticipate any interruptions in administrative services and staff will do what is necessary to support students and families and keep schools running.

The new building is expected to use the same site as the current building and will utilize a modular design where most of the components are fabricated off-site. Miller said this was the same style of construction used for classrooms at the new Junior/Senior High building and will reduce costs by roughly 70 percent compared to conventional construction.

Miller said the modules are already under construction at a facility in Aumsville. When they are brought on-site to be joined with the foundation, trusses and a roof, he said actual construction could be completed in as little as two months.

Miller said he is not certain when construction will begin as the district must still receive site plan approval from Mill City, and an electrical upgrade from Pacific Power. He said he is certain the new main office will be complete before the start of the next school year.

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