Construction begins this month on middle school remodeling projects

Construction starts this month on the last two projects under the $9.1 million building levy passed in November 2000.

Work is underway at Wy'east Middle School and soon to start at Hood River Middle school, both for completion this summer, Superintendent Jerry Sessions told the school board last week.

The firm 2KG Construction of Milwaukie, broke ground on Monday on the Wy'east project, which will cost $1 million. Crews will remodel the front entry, add four classrooms, build a covered walkway in back, and remodel the special education classrooms. The work is scheduled to be done July 15.

Skyward Construction of Vancouver, Wash., is doing the $2.5 million project at Hood River Middle School, where the tennis courts will be removed to make way for a multipurpose room that will serve as cafeteria and community room.

The addition will include six new classrooms including a computer lab. Ground-breaking will happen in late January, and the work should be done by Aug. 15.

Sessions said crews will take precautions in the early going to make sure soil conditions are right so the ground can bear the large supports needed for the addition.

Supports also came to the schools last week in the form of several donations, including an anonymous gift to Parkdale Elementary totaling about $4,000 annually.

Principal Pat Echanis told the school board that a local couple have pledged $250 per teacher per year to spend on school supplies.

"This donation just goes to show you what kind of support for the schools we have in this community," Echanis told the school board.

May Street Elementary reaped a $1,400 cash donation from Jim Melton and Julie Wilcox of Hood River; the donation arrived inside a Christmas card to May Street principal Dan Patton.

Larry and Joyce Eliot of Hood River gave the district a computer and printer worth $800, and Les and Mary Lively of Hood River donated a drum set worth $800 to Hood River Middle School.

Meanwhile, Patricia (who is on the school board) and Richard Schmuck donated $190 to the high school science department and Hood River Lions Club gave a $150 trophy case to the high school; the case will be the first one installed in the new addition now under construction.

The most unusual donation came from Denise Lawson: five gumball machines. The machines' total value is $2,150. Principal Ed Drew said the school is still assessing the best use of the machines: selling or raffling the machines, or placing them in local businesses are two options.

They cannot remain in the school, however. Wy'east is a "gum-free campus."

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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