The Oregon School District has reached agreements to purchase land for its next two school sites, one of which could open as soon as the 2020-21 school year.
Electors will need to approve both purchases at a Dec. 10 public meeting by a majority vote of district residents in attendance.
The $3 million agreements were part of the $44.9 million voters approved in the referendum earlier this month. The district has agreed to purchase 12.1 acres for an elementary school in Fitchburg’s Terravessa development off Hwy. 14 and Lacy Road for $926,080, and it also agreed to pay $2.1 million for a 107-acre parcel across from McDonald’s in the Village of Oregon for a potential future middle school and other “future needs,” according to a Nov. 27 news release.
The middle school would require a separate referendum for voters to approve funds for construction, which the release said is likely in 2022 or 2024 based on enrollment projections.
The release points out the Terravessa neighborhood is expected to have nearly 2,000 housing units when fully built out and that having a school near where children live can reduce transportation costs. It also states that the nearby nature conservancy and wooded property will be a “great asset to the district’s already strong focus on the environment.”
“Establishing a school in this location will create a neighborhood school in the northern part of our district,” superintendent Brian Busler said in the release. “It is an attractive school site because it honors the age-old guideline of building a school close to the students.”
The district will pay an additional $250,000 for road developments across the site, according to the release, but sewer and water service are already available.
The second site, in the southeast corner of Fitchburg, would require sewer and water service expansion, which the release states the district plans to obtain through “an intergovernmental agreement between the Village of Oregon and City of Fitchburg.” The middle school is expected to use about 30 of the 107 acres, and the release states the rest can be used for to-be-determined needs.
The “central location” of the school in the district will allow OSD to serve “both the northern and southern portions” of students at the middle school level, the release states. Busler added that the school can be a “front door” to the Village of Oregon for those coming in on Hwy. MM.
“What could be a better welcome to our community than a public school,” he said in the release.