Months after district voters approved the $82.7 million school bond, the Hermiston School District is moving forward on bringing the bond projects to fruition.
“We will start working with our architect now to enter the design phase,” Superintendent Tricia Mooney said. “That’s the next big part.”
At a meeting Feb. 10, along with selecting the Bend-based BBT Architects to design the bond projects, the Hermiston School Board appointed 10 community members to the Bond Oversight Committee, including Cpt. Scott Clark, of the Hermiston Police Department.
“We appreciate our relationship with the district and I appreciate Cpt. Clark’s desire to sit on a committee that by charge, is established to ensure transparency,” Police Chief Jason Edmiston said in a recent post on the police department’s Facebook page.
Other members include Thomas Ditton, Larry Lankford, Ben Sargent, John Timmons, Dorcie Tracy, former school board member David Smith, Hermiston Education Foundation co-chair George Clough and current HEF member Kristy Pierson
“Their charge is to ensure that the district is held accountable and transparent in the use of the 2019 bond funds that the voters approved in November,” the school district said in a press release.
In March, the completion of bond sales will allow the district to access the project money. Mooney said the district is still unsure when groundbreaking might start on the construction, which will include completion of a new elementary school on Theater Lane.
The new school would cause a redefinition of the Highland Hills Elementary School boundary, a move the district believes will help alleviate crowding caused by population growth. And while the district has seen a slight decline in enrollment this school year, January saw an upswing in the number of students coming to Hermiston schools.
According to the most recent enrollment report, the district saw a 90-student drop in December. January saw a 73-student boost, and enrollment at the end of the month stood at 5,724, which is 21 fewer students than the same time last year.
“Our kids are coming back, and enrollment is more in line with our projections,” Mooney said.
Mooney added that the reason for the drop in December was partly because nearly 60 students took extended vacations from school, and were automatically un-enrolled.