School board approves plans for new CHS

Gazette-Times reporter

Corvallis School District Monday unveiled preliminary sketches and a learning plan for the new Corvallis High School. Architects and representatives of the Corvallis High School design committee gave a report to the school board and submitted two documents related to its work.

A $46 million replacement high school is part of the district's November facilities bond measure. The district will ask voters to raise property taxes to support construction, maintenance, upgrade and repair projects around the district, including building a new Corvallis High and a middle school.

Design committee facilitator George Copa, professor and director of New Design for Learning at Oregon State University's school of education, gave an overview of the plan. Early on, cost was not a consideration, but the end result would reflect spending limitations.

"We told people to shoot for what they want and think they need," Copa said. "It's been a gradual process, but not without reality."

Architects with Dull Olson Weekes presented a campus site plan to indicate where buildings would sit. They also laid out the floor plan to show where programs would be located and shared a sketch reflecting the committee's desired aesthetic features.

Design input was gathered at forums, in focus groups and committee meetings. The district consulted representatives from public safety and youth organizations and sought feedback from neighbors, students and senior citizens.

Susan Wolff, also with OSU's school of education, assisted in facilitating the design work.

"We want this place to be busy," Wolff said. "We want to help individual students find their passions."

To achieve that, the school's learning environment with flexible spaces, access to information technology for all students and staff and "buzz free" places to get away from technology.

Brandon Trelstad was invited to join the committee because of his work with sustainable building designs at OSU. Trelstad said it was difficult at first to predict the future of a building with a half-life of 35 years.

He told the school board that he believed the best solution for students would be to build the new school so students wouldn't have to relocate during construction.

The school board adopted a resolution accepting the design plan that would have students remain in the existing building until the new school was finished. That option will cost about $2 million less than building the facility someplace else on the property, and will cause the least disruption to students during the three years of construction, officials said.

Becky Waldrop covers youth and education for the Gazette-Times. She can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 758-9510.

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