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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