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School Work - Board Approves Facilities Projects
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Members of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District board gave unanimous approval for the district to move forward with prioritized facilities projects at the Oct. 8 regular meeting.

OJUSD Superintendent Marc Malone provided a report to the board about the OJUSD Facilities Committee’s recommendations on the district’s most needed new construction or facilities improvements to be paid for with a combination of developer fees and project savings. The total cost of the eight priority projects is estimated at about $3 million. Approximately $3.5 million is expected to be available for use once all funds are released in June 2013 by the Office of Public School Construction, which requires the holding of construction project savings until it’s determined that the project was completed to specifications. Once released, these monies must be used for construction or facilities improvements within the next five years – it’s “use it or lose it” money.

The Facilities Committee, comprised of 15 community members, including a couple of district administrators, met over the course of several months, visited all of the district’s land assets and school sites and developed a prioritized list of recommendations for construction or improvement.

The first project on the list is to build a new central kitchen for the school district on three-quarters of an acre located at Wood and J Street. The current central kitchen is comprised of several portables that are over 40 years old – most portables have a “lifespan” of about 20 years – adjacent to Cloverland Elementary School. The cost for that is estimated at $1.1 million. The next two projects are multi-purpose rooms for Fair Oaks and Cloverland elementary schools, which would mean expanding and improving the schools’ currently small cafeterias to bring parity amongst the elementary schools, adding over 2,200 square feet to each at a cost of about $300 per square foot.

Other projects in order include expanding the library at Fair Oaks, installing electronic gates at the bus circle for Magnolia Elementary School, a new shade structure at Oakdale Junior High School, the renovation of Magnolia’a auditorium for stage extension, lighting, and sound, and also renovating vocational education classrooms at Oakdale High School.

Malone also shared some possibilities about what to do with the district’s Brady Road property. The board, however, decided not to take any action on the Brady Road recommendations due to it not being mentioned on the agenda and noted that it will be on the next regular meeting agenda.

In other business, Chief Business Officer Susan Dyke reported on first quarter developer fees and said that the district collected more in the first quarter than they did in the entire last school year.

“Things are looking up,” Dyke noted.

In reports, Oakdale Junior High School English teacher Gillian Wegener demonstrated for the board a lesson incorporating the new IS4 (Instructional Strategies Supporting Student Success) teaching strategy. With participation from teachers and administrators in the audience acting as students with whiteboards, Wegener gave a lesson on a Shakespearean sonnet to show the board how the lessons look in action.

The next regular meeting of the OJUSD Board of Trustees will be at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5 at the OJUSD Technology and Staff Development Center, 331 Hinkley Ave.