Changes on the cheap come for Coe Building

July 20, 2011

Last summer every school building in the Hood River County School District received something new and exciting - new classrooms, library, science rooms or whole additions - thanks to funding from the 2008 construction bond levy.

But the Coe Building - home of the Community Education program - had to be happy with a few energy upgrades and some parking lot lights.

Now the 96-year-old building is getting some attention, though not on the same scale as its sister buildings in the district: It's getting some rearrangement of the interior to accommodate a new server room for the district's technology services.

"Last summer we had a power outage at the district office that shut off the antiquated cooling system - a home window air conditioner - in our computer server room," Schools Superintendent Charlie Beck said. "As a result we lost some very expensive computer hardware; and in addition we lost access to our data systems until a remedy could be patched together.

"When we realized that we needed a redundant cooling system for our computer equipment and network hardware, we discovered that moving tech services to the basement of the Coe Building was our best option," he said.

The project is being done as inexpensively as possible, Beck said.

"We are doing the move with mostly in-house labor and much of the material is coming from leftover building supplies that have been stored at the Odell warehouse since the 2003 and 2009 bonds," he said.

The new server room is going to be located in the area that used to be the stairwell of the front entrance. The staircase was removed and a new floor installed that creates a new conference room upstairs in what was formerly "wasted space," according to Facilities Manager Randall Johnston.

The server room will be sandwiched between two new handicapped-accessible bathrooms.

"Eventually the whole building will be ADA accessible," Johnston said, "but since we were moving the bathrooms, it makes sense to make those changes now."

Johnston said that wherever possible, original materials are being reused or repurposed, such as door casings and railings; not only to save money but to preserve the building's original look. And, as Beck said, surplus materials from previous projects have been used wherever possible.

"This carpet is 20 years old, but still brand-new," he said, pointing out the new computer training room for Community Ed. Indeed, the new-old carpet still fills the room with the familiar new-carpet smell. "It was leftover from a project and has been in storage all this time," he said.

The floor in the repair area was done in garage-floor fashion: painted and sprinkled with colored flecks. "That's how inexpensive we're going," Johnston said.

The Community Ed office is moving to the opposite corner of the building, and other areas are being changed to improve efficiency of the whole building.

"It will be a much more functional space," Johnston said.

Beck said that there will be a few other upgrades done, as well.

"We are updating some electrical and possibly some HVAC systems that make sense at this time," he said. "The technology facilities upgrade dollars are coming from our system development taxes levied on new construction (Building Excise Tax Fund)."

Johnston said the project is scheduled to be done over the summer and should be finished by fall.

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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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