Frequently Asked Questions
Q: As I am sure you are aware, the Energy Trust of Oregon is currently offering significant incentives to replace/retrofit older fixtures with more energy efficient versions . In some cases, the costs of upgrading can be recovered in as little as 18 months. I am curious if you have a program already underway or if you might consider looking at an analysis of how the district might benefit from this type of upgrade, specifically at Rosemont?
The short answer to your comments regarding Rosemont lighting is that the 2008 Capital Bond passed in November identifies and provides funding to replace existing in-efficient lighting at Rosemont with energy efficient fixtures and lamps. Similar work is programmed across the district. We are currently ramping up operations to implement this work.
We are working closely with the Oregon Department of Energy and Energy Trust of Oregon to identify and collect rebates and incentives including the Oregon Business Energy Tax Credit program and Senate Bill 1149 public purpose fee distribution.
Prior to the election, we had similar questions from our patrons and I wrote the following explanatory statement. I hope this provides some insight into our position and plan. Thanks for taking the time to send me your email. We are in the process of launching a website that will provide information on this and many other topics.
DISTRICT ENERGY CONSERVATION INITIATIVES
1) As a school district we have access to money provided through the Oregon Department of Energy (Senate Bill 1149) http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/index.shtml that helps pay for energy conservation measures in the form of physical improvements to school buildings and equipment. We have been very active in this program for about 5-years and in fact, I am on a state panel that wrote the original program and periodically monitors statewide progress. One requirement of this program is to collect data regarding energy use in each of our schools each year. From this, we know there has been significant progress in lowering energy usage every day.
2) Our district has several newer buildings and each was designed and constructed using the latest energy conservation guidelines. Further, we have made upgrades at all other schools through past capital bond work to address energy consumption. The board recently approved a resolution to place a capital bond on the November 2008 election to construct new schools and make improvements to all others. Sustainability and energy conservation measures will be an integral part of this work. http://www.wlwv.k12.or.us/DistrictDepts/Operations/CapitalBond.asp
3) We were an early adopter of DDC (direct digital controls) for heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and lighting systems in all district buildings. This computerized system is centrally controlled from the Operations Center and has been instrumental in controlling energy consumption. By programming on and off times for lights and heating/cooling equipment; and incrementally adjusting set points in specific rooms we have demonstrated significant savings without compromising occupant comfort. Even stadium lights are remotely programmed to come on and go off in coordination with field use. http://www.alerton.com/About_Alerton/default.asp
4) We know there is only so much that can be done with equipment only. That's why we have a robust training and awareness initiative that reaches out to maintenance/custodial staff, teachers and students. This was a very active conversation during the last school year with many student projects focusing on energy conservation using a variety of expected curricular resources and some less expected such as the Operations Department staff and historic records, district architects and engineers and many resources made available through CREST. http://www.wlwv.k12.or.us/Schools/Other/Crest.asp Further, our Superintendent (last year and continuing this school year) sent out an invitation to all district staff to engage in the question of sustainability at a personal level, as a school district and in relation to the world. There was an overwhelming response with regular interaction and thoughtful dialog about how to move this forward in a meaningful way.
5) Lastly, of all the line items in our annual operating budget, "energy cost" is one we would all like to reduce. We have actively partnered with account managers at Portland General Electric and Northwest Natural Gas to enroll in cost reducing programs for our schools that make the best use of our limited resources. We work with both companies to learn ways to reduce usage, make wise energy choices, select energy efficient equipment and technology, and stay abreast of local and national energy market trends. https://www.nwnatural.com/index.asp http://www.portlandgeneral.com/Default.asp?bhcp=1
While I have provided a few specific examples of how we are responding to energy efficiency, the fact of the matter is that we make a conscious effort every day to minimize usage and maximize value for our students and patrons. I hope this helps answer your question. If you would like to talk to me directly about this, or any issue regarding the operations of the district give me a call.
Q: I heard one of the bond projects will add a new data center at the district office? What will this be used for and is it really necessary? Could off-site services be used instead?
While some outside services can provide off-site management of data systems, the needs and desires of the district to make these various systems work together cannot easily be attained with off-site hosted systems. In the new data center at the district office, there will be file servers that handle a variety of tasks including student records management, document management, work order tracking, web services, centralized data storage, email, and many others. Having these services located on-site allows us to be able to modify, adjust, and configure these services for our own unique needs. It also allows us to interconnect them in ways that could not be done with off-site services.
Even still, the data center will act as the central hub for other things besides data storage and services. This center will also house the district's phone system, main core network electronics, wireless network control, and video distribution network. The space will also provide a center for the connections within the district office itself.
This design should be easier to manage and keep stable in comparison to the existing distributed system while also maintaining the ability to adjust, configure, and create systems that meet the needs of the district.
I heard that we ripped up a perfectly good softball field at Rosemont because someone thought something about the boys and girls fields wasn't "fair". Is this is true and what is the cost for this project?
While Fed Title IX is always in play, the main reason we replaced the softball field at Rosemont Middle School was because it is not a perfectly good field. It has never been used for a full season because of its wet condition. High School Women's softball starts early February and the field simply doesn't drain. This improvement solves that problem once and for all; and provides year-round use for middle school PE and other community youth programs. We know we avoid incredibly high irrigation costs that otherwise diminish dollars for education; and, one all- weather field provides the equivalent use of three natural grass fields.
The contract value for the Rosemont AND Wilsonville High School softball fields including change orders is $1,165,970.00. We have been dividing costs equally between the two schools on pay applications, because the schedule of values created at the beginning of the project was not site specific. Therefore the total cost for the Rosemont field as of today will be $582,985.00. This project was publicly bid and has typical public contract requirements i.e. prevailing wage rates, bond, insurance, record-keeping, etc.
Q: What proccess did the district go through to choose the e-Builder software program they are using to manage the 98m Capital Bond passed in November 2008 to build 2 new primary schools and provide additions and improvements at all other schools in the district?
We have created a time-line of our procurement process for construction program management software. You may view this timeline by going to: http://www.wlwv.k12.or.us/districtdepts/operations/bond_website/bond_management_software_timeline.pdf
I also want to briefly describe the process and our rationale for this approach.
First, it was clear to me early in our bond program that there had to be a better way to manage a large public capital bond program than Excel spreadsheets and various single-purpose programs that together were time-consuming, user un-friendly, unreliable and not-very-transparent.
This led me to begin an internet research path toward procuring a single-source, modular, construction program management solution suitable for public agencies based on the Owner's perspective.
Knowing we had responsibilities for competitive procurement, and that there are probably hundreds of software solutions, my first step was to narrow the field of options to 4 or 5 that fit the profile we had created. Of course this was informed by my own professional background in construction management and specifically, the management of two previous bond management cycles in our district.
My research was thus focused not on construction management software, but on finding a reliable software clearing house that could provide unbiased recommendations based on specific search criteria.
On our time line you will find a link to a site called Software Advice www.softwareadvice.com This site used a series of topics to help narrow the search. In the end, they provided a shortlist of compatible companies that we might select from.
As you can see on the time line, we went through a series interviews and demonstrations that ultimately lead to our selection of e-Builder.
One reason we did not follow a typical RFP/RFQ process was it is very difficult to craft language to fully describe our request. We also learned that many (including e-Builder) software providers are very reluctant to engage in this type of process due to the extraordinary efforts and costs they have to invest, with minimal chance of success. It is also suspected that many agencies that take this approach already have a preferred provider in mind and craft the RFP language around that product.
On the other hand, by using an unbiased sorting, we didn't have to endure endless sales calls triggered by our direct inquiries and were able to have confidence the select list was viable for our purposes and could produce a successful program based on our very unique requirements that were informed by a well thought out strategy for overall bond program management.
In the end, while there may have been less expensive solutions, none could have provided better all-around compatibility with our program.
West Linn-Wilsonville School District
DEPARTMENT OF OPERATIONS
Tim K. Woodley, Director
Q: What work is being done at the Administration Building, what is its purpose, and how much is this costing?
In general, the District Admin building on Stafford Road has been somewhat neglected over the years in terms of maintenance upgrades in deference to spending time and money on schools. The result is a facility that was in desperate need of various improvements relating to network data, electrical, mechanical, plumbing and structural deficiencies. The building is not only home to the office of the superintendent and school board but also personnel, business office and special ed services. It is also the central location for the district computer network, telephone system and IT department. The final straw that "broke the camels back", so to speak, was a total failure of the septic system on the site.
In November, 2008, district patrons passed a capital bond measure valued at $98-million to build two new schools as well as make various improvements at all district facilities. The admin building was one of those sites that received funding as part of a larger "deferred maintenance" component of the bond.
The work you see being done at the admin now is:
Provide new secure data/technology hub including new network hardware, software and phone system.
Provide additional square footage to accommodate current employees and minimal future staff as the district grows.
Replace all electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems (existing were non-code compliant and in serious danger of failure)
Install new sanitary sewer (site septic) system
Install fire/life safety systems (fire alarms and sprinkler system)
Comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) including an elevator
Install emergency generator to support continuous operations
Install code compliant storm water management systems
Reconstruct entry drive in safer location and more efficient parking lot.
Replace/repair failed building envelop and structural components (i.e.; existing foundation leaked surface water and had no footings or steel reinforcement)
Repair historically significant facade.
This work is being done under a public works (bid) contract with Todd Construction with a value of $4,537,571.
A significant amount of investigation was conducted prior to this work relating to cost benefit of investing in the existing facility versus moving the admin to a different location. At the end of the day, the current location is seen to be superior to other choices and relatively cost neutral in terms of cost to replace at a different site.
Q: What is the status of the tennis court project at Wilsonville High School?
This project has been somewhat difficult to achieve due to an interest in providing tennis courts at the high school that are covered. We have done various design studies of how this might be accomplished and have found the costs associated to be significantly more than we have available for the work. And since these covers require large footings that extend under the tennis court surface, we are reluctant to do anything until we can confirm final project goals. If only new tennis courts (without a cover) are acceptable, we could do those almost anytime and funding is available. If the cover is absolutely required, we will have to wait for funding.
We are also building two new primary schools; one in Wilsonville and one in West Linn. The school board is most anxious to finish the design, permitting and bidding phases of those major projects before authorizing additional funding for the tennis court covers. We have not ruled out providing a covered tennis court at Wilsonville High School but are in a "hold" pattern until other prioritized projects are attended to.
Q: How does the district plan to staff the propsed new primary schools when there are challenges staffing current schools? What impact will this have on the new schools?
A: The district has been planning for the opening of the new primary schools for several years. The schools were planned with the advice of the citizens Long Range Planning Committee, community summits, and careful school board consideration. School start up costs are fully funded in the bond including books, materials, technology, and initial operation of the building and staffing for the planning principal. The current primary schools are operating above capacity. The boundary process will adjust the overcrowded schools to create the new student groups for Trillium Creek Primary School and Lowrie Primary School. We fully expect these schools to open at 80% capacity.
Q: I've heard rumors of Sunset Primary School being closed and moving those students to the new Trillium Creek Primary when it's open. Is this true?
A: Sunset is and continues to be a viable school, that the intent is, and has been, to replace it on the current site at some point in the future, that there are bond dollars for preliminary design work, and that the board traded land with the city of West Linn to better accommodate the new building at the current site.
Q: How energy efficient will the new Trillium Creek and Lowrie Primary Schools be?
In terms of energy efficiencies, the design team has considered a variety of approaches, both visible to the school community and technologies that have been integrated behind the scenes. Efficient air handling units, boilers, lighting fixtures and other pieces of process equipment were specified in the design, as an example, to reduce overall energy consumption. The building orientation optimizes gains from passive solar and daylight. The design team also considered that outside of efficient systems, however, energy consumption comes down to the end user. In this sense, finding ways for students and the school community to interact with the building and these features would be essential in order to create opportunities for curricular connections related to energy consumption, alternative energy sources, etc. This will be achieved through metering throughout the building and other "cues" such as light sensors that indicate when it's optimal to use natural air versus the HVAC system or LCD lights that indicate levels of consumption of gas, water, electricity and the production of the on-site alternative energy. To that point, both schools will have solar arrays and a small, demonstrative wind turbine on-site to track and learn from those types of technologies. Depending on the curriculum and potential student projects, there are opportunities to look at building wide energy usage, as well something as specific as the plug loads versus the lighting loads within the designed porches.
Both sites have design standards for water efficiencies within the interior and exterior of the building. Intentional landscape designs incorporate native species that require less irrigation and designs for storm water filtration from the impervious surfaces to recharge groundwater. In addition, rainwater will be stored in an underground cistern that will be integrated back into the building system to flush toilets. A floating meter will be installed in this cistern for students to see the levels as well. These are just some examples, but stay tuned for a more comprehensive overview that we will be developing for the students, teachers and school community once school starts.
Both buildings will be LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). You can find more information about the LEED for Schools rating system at http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1586. Based on various design components, considerations for sustainable sites, water efficiencies, energy efficiencies, building materials, landscaping, on-site renewable energy and connections for students to learn about these features, our projects will receive a certain number of points that then is translated into a level of certification. We have found that through this process and documentation, we can acknowledge components of the design and construction process that are mindful of the environment and aspects of sustainability and work to reduce potential impacts. We anticipate great opportunities for students to be able to connect to these design features through curriculum, classroom and school wide inquiry projects.
Q: What work is being done on the new storm water drainage project at Cedaroak Park in the summer of 2012?
A: Prior to the construction of the new parking lot at Cedaroak during the summer of 2009, all storm water at this site was managed on site by injecting it back into the ground through dry well systems. These dry wells have all failed and are now, under law, illegal. Accordingly, to solve this very real and serious problem, the district has had to come up with a strategy to legally manage storm water. This summer the district will construct the final phase of storm water management for the Cedaroak Park site. Current code requires strict compliance with how storm water is collected, treated, retained and dismissed from the site and our civil engineers have created a design in compliance with these jurisdictional standards. In this case, storm water generated from rooftops will be collected at the perimeter of the building and hard-piped underground to a detention pond that provides treatment, retention and metering into the adjacent Trillium Creek. The location of this pond is engineered in relation to site grades (downhill) and where the discharge must go. We also took into account existing features and located it in a place that was not occupied by other above ground and below ground features and infrastructure. The pond will have extensive water quality plantings to provide natural treatment (cleaning) of the water as it moves off the site. Only during heavy storm events will there be water in the pond; and as noted, the pond will be fenced with a 4-ft chain link fence.