4J to move displaced students to old Willard school during bond work

A decision has been made to put the students who will be displaced from Edison and Camas Ridge Elementary schools while their schools get rebuilt in the former Willard school.

Posted: Oct 21, 2019 6:48 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Students who will be displaced as Edison and Camas Ridge elementary schools get rebuilt will be placed in the former Willard school, the 4J school board has decided.

Levi Mason, who lives right next to the school, said he sees increased foot traffic through his street, but he can't for certain attribute it to the school.

"We get a lot of foot traffic that comes through this street, and I've had things stolen out of my car," said Mason.

Another neighbor, Mara Skelton, said the lack of security is unsettling.

"We were a bit surprised with some of the things we've seen on the street and the garbage that's been left in our yard is just a little concerning having a young child," she said.

Residents described things like transient people sleeping at the abandoned school, drug paraphernalia and graffiti.

But they said they're also hopeful that these issues may go away with the reconstruction of the former school.

The site will be home to a new "swing" school meant to temporarily house Edison Elementary and then Camas Ridge Elementary students while their schools get rebuilt.

Anne Marie Levis, president of the 4J school board, said they will be tearing down some of the Willard school and supplementing it with modular buildings, similar to the ones used at the ECCO alternative school.

"For us it's really having a great site in the south area which is pretty dense," she said.

Construction will be finished in time for Edison students to use it next fall.

Levis called it a win win win because the modular school plan is easy to assemble, long lasting and much cheaper than a brick and mortar building.

As for the long range plans, Levis said they've brought up a few different ideas on how it can be used, including a potential administration building.

4J spokesperson Kerry Delf said the work at the Willard school site will cost around $13 million. The work at Edison and Camas Ridge is being paid for by the $319.3 million bond passed in November 2018.

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