ILWACO - A report and presentation of new schematic designs for Long Beach and Ocean Park Elementary Schools took up the largest portion of a long Ocean Beach School District Board of Directors meeting Monday night - the first in their new twice-a-month format.

Construction manager Doug Nichols was first to take the floor, reporting on results of a hazardous materials survey recently conducted at both sites. He said there is "seasonal standing water" in the crawl space below the Long Beach campus. He said it was ground water coming up through the soil during wet months and expressed concern that there may be other issues that are byproducts of that, including mold and related air quality problems.

"I think we need to be careful about it," said Nichols. "Right now we're not sure we can get rid of the water, so how do we manage the water?"

Another key issue at the Long Beach site is the stability of the brick veneer that makes up the outside of the building. They had originally planned on keeping the brick to hold true to the original look and feel of the building, but Nichols said that is a problem.

"They're troubled, so Trent is ... troubled," he said referring to Trent Hart, the architect from the firm BJSS Duarte Bryant who has been redesigning the two buildings.

Hart was next to take the floor, offering up the schematic floor plans and elevations that he was originally supposed to have at the September board meeting two weeks ago.

Hart showed the Long Beach School designs first, detailing the differences from the original plans. The biggest change, one that brought criticism from the board members, was the change in the roof above what will be the new gym. It was originally planned to be a gable pitched roof and now is drawn as being flat in order to stay on budget.

Long Beach sidingHart also addressed the brick veneer issue when board member Kim Patten asked if it would be best to remove the brick and go with something else.

"That's something we need to evaluate very closely," said Hart.

In Hart's elevation drawings of the outside of the building, he shows it with a Hardi Plank siding, one size on the top level, and a smaller size on the bottom, which he called more aesthetically pleasing. Hart also said that it would make the building more welcoming to new students. He added that there is no significant price increase in changing the siding.

The plan for Long Beach also shows an increase of windows in order to draw as much natural light as possible into the building, including windows surrounding the stairwell up to the new upper level.

Board member Jim Sayce was the first to question some of these changes saying, "Weather deteriorates dollars down the road." He said he would forgo the "warm and fuzzies" to focus rather on weatherization.

Sayce was also a proponent of cedar shingles for the siding, saying there is not a lot of experience with brick veneer here on the coast. Board member Kristi Unruh agreed with Sayce saying, "If we do it right now, we won't have to worry about it later."

It was decided that Nichols would do a cost analysis on the different types of siding and get back to the group at a later date.

Sayce and Unruh also said they didn't like the look of the west end of the building, the front of the structure, saying they thought it looked stark. Board chairman Ed Guelfi said he thought it looked "rather inviting."

OP water tankAfter a break, Hart resumed his presentation, moving on to Ocean Park School. The discussion of that site revolved around the new water tank that needs to be installed to provide water flow for fire suppression.

In the new plans the tank has been moved from the northwest to the southwest corner of the property. The tank will be made out of concrete and stand 28 feet high, nearly as tall as the new building. There was much concern by the school board members about the look of the tank.

They had originally thought that it could be located across the street at the park. That was ruled out because the park is at a lower elevation than the school, causing the water to have to run uphill. Patten suggested the possibility of coming to an agreement with the Timberland Library across the street to the northwest, possibly placing the tank on some empty property library trustees bought for future expansion. Other ideas suggested included burying the tank partially underground, having it a different shape or painting murals on the side. This primed Unruh to suggest that Hart "Think outside the tank."

Weatherization was also a key when discussing the new elevation plans, where Ocean Park School has been drawn with the same style of siding as Long Beach. The board members applauded Hart when he finished his presentation and voted 5-0 to accept his design plans. The plans for both the schools will be on display at Ocean Beach Primary School.

Stray bill, haunted house

To start out the meeting, the board approved five consent items and tabled one for discussion due to an objection by Patten. Among the moves, the board approved the hiring of new business manager Linda Thompson.

The item objected to and revisited in the unfinished business portion of the meeting was that of the general funds accounts payable for the month.

Patten wanted more information on a billing for power and water in Chinook. OBSD Superintendent Tom Lockyer explained this was to pay for those services at Sea Resources as part of the district's five-year lease agreement with them. He noted this is the final year of that lease and that when originally signed, the district was holding several classes out there. Patten said he was very concerned by the fact they are having to make cuts throughout the district and still paying for "stuff like this."

Lockyer said he would get a cost breakdown of the services to see if they really should be paying as much as they are. The board voted and approved the general fund accounts payable at $90,430 for the month of October.

Representatives of the Ilwaco High School Class of 2005 attended the meeting in order to present the board with their idea for holding a fundraising haunted house at the vacant Ocean Park School building. The three girls said it would be an alternative for children ages 11 to 14, who may be too old for the event at the fire hall, but still too young to attend the haunted bunker. The event would benefit the junior prom.

The girls pitched it as being a "farewell of sorts" to the old building, saying, "We want Ocean Park because it has that spooky empty school feeling." They had considered the Chinook school building but didn't like its location and also thought that Ocean Beach Primary's gym would be too small.

Ocean Beach Primary Principal Bette Arne said that although she appreciated their efforts she was concerned about the idea. Arne said the district has refused every group that has come to them in hopes of using that facility since June because they had told the community that the building was closed.

Guelfi liked the idea but told the girls that they would need more of a plan from them before they could vote on it.

Lockyer was originally scheduled on the budget to give a presentation about the recently released WASL science scores, but decided not to in order to give more time to Hart for his presentation.

Web policyThe board approved the adoption of a new policy regarding the district Web site which has been discussed since last year. It was decided that no elementary school students faces could be shown on the Web site but junior and senior high school students could be, unless otherwise noted by parents.

The board approved the disposition of two school buses, recently replaced by two new ones. It was decided that the district would keep one for parts and trade the other for credit on parts.

The board also approved the new contract agreement with the Public School Employees group, the last of the three groups the district had to negotiate with this year. The settlement included better medical dollars and a modest wage increase.

The board approved the ASB fund accounts payable at $1,530, the September payroll at $588,595 and the transportation fund at $50,186.

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