Saturday, 24 October 2020

LPOSD facility needs detailed

SANDPOINT ‚ÄĒ A recent¬†assessment of the facilities in the Lake Pend Oreille School District identified five schools with the most need¬†in terms of¬†remodeling or replacement.

Those schools, in no particular order, include Washington and Northside Elementary schools, Sandpoint Middle School, Clark Fork Junior/Senior High School and Lake Pend Oreille High School.

“Not only is it impacting cost to maintain and operate these buildings, it’s also impacting the educational function that’s going on in the buildings,” said Jim Coleman from Coleman Engineering.

Coleman, along with Cory Trapp from Longwell+Trapp Architects, gave a broad overview of the¬†needs of the schools to the district’s¬†Facilities Advisory Committee last Wednesday.¬†It was the second meeting of the committee, as¬†facilities were determined to be a¬†focus of the district’s¬†strategic planning process¬†to determine long- and short-term priorities.

The recommendation for Washington Elementary, which was¬†built in 1950,¬†is to tear it down and start over, Trapp said.¬†Mechanical systems are old, electrical systems are old, it has had plumbing problems, and the several additions that have been added on over the years create¬†a “maze” of hallways around the center core. The different types of construction used throughout the additions makes it difficult to remodel, he said. As small as the school is, Trapp said it would be more cost efficient to rebuild the school.

“Educational functionality in this building is very poor,” Trapp said. “… We don’t think it is a good solution to try and remodel that building.”

Northside Elementary did not fare any better in the assessment as Coleman said the recommendation is to tear down the 1953 building. The roof does not have adequate snow load capacity, parking is not adequate, the school does not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the gym floor needs replaced, as do the plumbing, electrical and fire alarm systems, Coleman said.

While SMS has been well maintained, Trapp said a lot of the work that needs done is due to the age of the facility,¬†as it was constructed in 1953.¬†In the district’s¬†2015¬†facility master plan, the recommendation was to rebuild the middle school. In the recent assessment, however, Trapp said rebuilding of the school is not necessary as it has good structure and could be remodeled.

The mechanical and electrical systems are at the end of their lives and need replaced, Trapp said. Some floors need replaced, intercom systems need updating and some of the glass needs to be replaced for energy efficiency. In addition, Trapp said, portables were not meant to be permanent. Instead, the district needs to get rid of the old portables and add on to the main building, he said.

At Clark Fork Junior/Senior High School, Coleman recommended replacing the small¬†shop used for the school’s career technical education program, the gym roof is showing signs of stress and should be replaced, the field house is in poor condition and there is an older, unused section of the main building that the district “needs to decide what to do with it.” The school was originally constructed in 1928.

The building that houses Lake Pend Oreille High School was originally constructed in 1909. Coleman said the building does not “function well as an educational facility” and is difficult to secure. The heating system is not adequate and there is no fresh air ventilation, and the roof is failing and is not rated for current snow loads, he said.

“Our recommendation for this facility is to look for some other facilities that could be repurposed for your alternative high school uses, whether that’s an old warehouse somewhere in town or an office building …” Coleman said.

Coleman said the district could sell the property the school currently sits on to fund a new facility. While the school could be rebuilt on site as well, he said the current building is not recommended for remodel.

All of the other schools were listed in good condition, save for some improvements including roof and floor repairs, and parking lot and drainage issues. In addition, all of the schools need to update security and ADA access, Trapp and Coleman said.

Trapp said the cost estimates and a full report of the assessment are forthcoming. With the help of input from the committee, he said the final document will prioritize the schools in the order they should be remodeled or rebuilt.

A video of the meeting can be viewed on the district’s website at, under public information/2018 Citizens Facility Advisory Committee.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.


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