Grants Pass voters to decide on two new middle schools

Grants Pass, Ore.- The need to upgrade both Grants Pass Middle Schools is obvious.

“Hallways are crowded, bathrooms are an issues, we’re not ADA compliant, and we don’t have central heating and air so classrooms get hot,” Garry Penning, Grants Pass School Board Chair said.

But the decision to put it in the voters hands took years.

“It’s a big ask for the community, but if you look back over 20 years ago, it’s really about the same dollar amount per assessed thousand that we asked the community for the high school and the performing acts,” Penning said. “Just think of that investment and what it did for our community. These middle schools are just another phase of that.”

School board members are asking Grants Pass residents to approve a $138.7 million bond in May. It would cost $1.94 per thousand dollars of a home’s assessed value over a 30 year period.

And while the board has less than three months to convince voters, they hope the community will support the students in the years to come.

“Grants Pass is a great community and we just feel like this is going to make it better,” Penning said.

If approved, they plan to break ground in 2019. North Middle School would be built at the same location. South middle school will be moved near the Redwood area.

Penning says building the two new middle schools would cost less than renovating the existing structures.

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