On Nov. 7, the Corvallis community will have an opportunity not seen in decades. On that day, Corvallis district residents will have the opportunity to vote on the purchase of the Ravalli Electric Cooperative’s (REC) 21.23 acres that includes 25,000 feet of usable building space right next to our main campus. The purchase of this property and buildings will give our district and community the ability to address our immediate and long term needs.

District student enrollment has increased by more than 130 students since the fall of 2014 to almost 1,400 students K-12 this fall. The primary school campus has housed two temporary modular buildings containing five classrooms for almost ten years, exceeding their life expectancy by five years.

Both the primary and middle school buildings are full. Community requests to use our two gymnasiums after hours is beyond crammed. It is important that this district continue to meet the increasing needs of our growing student population and community.

 The REC property offers the most efficient and effective use of levy funds to expand our campus to meet our student and community needs now and into the future.

For more than 30 years, the REC has leased to the district 5.5 acres containing our girls' softball field, baseball field, and practice field. These ballfields have been an integral part of our district’s activity offerings to our students and the community. Keeping these fields is a top priority.

The existing REC facilities will be immediately used to consolidate district storage, buses, and administrative offices while also allowing us to temporarily use space in the REC’s main office for additional classrooms, while the additional classrooms housed in the REC’s administrative building will temporarily relieve intense space issues in limited areas in the district.

The lasting solution for our growing needs is found on the REC’s eight acres of open space that’s ideal for new construction. If on Nov. 7, the community votes to purchase the REC property, extensive planning can begin to determine our detailed, long-term plan. Until now, it’s been very difficult to plan without knowing on what land we would expand.

As a debt-free district, we felt a five-year building reserve levy was the most reasonable and effective request of our residents. If approved by the voters, the district will close on the REC property in June of 2018 at the appraised value of $1.725 million. The approximate increase in property taxes for a $200,000 home will be $70/year. After five years, the levy expires and the district will own the property and buildings of the REC.

We believe this purchase is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our community and district. The opportunity to extend our main campus and thereby maintain high levels of operating efficiency is an important long-term consideration for the voters. This opportunity has significant short- and long-term benefits for our students and community. This is our community and our opportunity.

Vote on Nov. 7 at the Corvallis High School gym.

Tim Johnson, Corvallis school superintendent

Becky Anderson, Corvallis school board