Eugene schools use bond measure money to repair 'unsafe' schools

EUGENE, Ore. -- Structurally unstable school buildings around Lane County will soon see changes to make them more secure, thanks to a bond measure passed last month, the Eugene-4J School District said Wednesday.

Back in 2007, the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Studies released an open-file report that said many public schools and service buildings were "at risk of collapse" if a major earthquake hit the area.

Nearly six years later, the 4J School District facilities manager Harlan Coats said they're now working to repair its aging structures.

"There's cracks all over the floors," Coats said, walking the halls of Roosevelt Middle School in Eugene. "It's a pretty old heating system in the building, it needs a new roof, the windows need to be redone ... it's in pretty rough shape."

Lane County Emergency Manager Linda Cook said each building owner works with their structure to make sure the proper safety measures are taken.

"Of course we know that there are some very old buildings in Lane County, and there's really nothing we can do about that," Cook said. "We're really gonna have to rely on the facility owners to be taking good care of their structures."

That's why the 4J School District is using part of the funding from bond measure 20-210 that passed April 1 to fund reconstruction projects at Roosevelt and three other schools listed on the 2007 study.

"Students and staff are gonna love these buildings you know. They're gonna be modern the computer systems are gonna be up to date and it's gonna be a real treat," Coats said.

The 4J School District is making progress on their building upgrades, but campus Human Resources Director Dennis Carr said the 60's vintage Lane Community College buildings have had similar issues.

"Thanks to the voters we've at least twice that i know of had the opportunity through bond proceeds to upgrade the they're in reasonably good condition," Carr said.

Carr added that at this time none of their buildings are at risk of collapse.

Another building on the agenda for renovations is city hall, which prompted all of the city offices to move out last year.