In November 2019, the Union community approved a $4 million general obligation bond to improve the district’s buildings which enabled them to secure an additional $7 million in state match and grant funding to extend the community’s investment.
The first phase of work included accessibility upgrades, HVAC replacement, electrical service upgrades, interior and exterior painting of the buildings, and safety and security upgrades. This includes secure entrances at the high school and SE Miller Elementary, restoring the use of the historic main entry at the high school and a drop-area at SE Miller Elementary with a new entrance facing Main Street. There is a new parking lot, along with an expanded gym and multi-purpose space, at SE Miller Elementary, and a new roof and windows in JF Hutchinson Elementary. At the high school, renovations include a commons area for a student gathering and a gymnasium entry addition.
Due to nationwide delays in building materials, parts of the work continued into the fall, after school resumed. BLRB and KNCC worked closely with the district to coordinate remaining to not disrupt student activities during the school day.
The new gymnasium entry addition includes new restrooms, a new concession stand, and an ADA-accessible ramp at the entry to meet the district’s bond goal to “ensure every person can access the campus with dignity.” The high school elevator makes all levels of the historic building accessible to students and visitors.
Union School District received two grants to extend the scope of improvements to the buildings. Firstly, they were awarded a $20,000 Preserving Oregon grant from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office for the cleaning and re-pointing of the historic masonry on the High School building, built in 1911. This improves structural and waterproofing qualities of the building by replacing missing mortar and damaged brick, as well as removing decades of accumulated dirt.
Secondly, the district was also awarded a $2.5 million seismic rehabilitation grant from Business Oregon for seismic upgrades to the Gymnasium. The scope of the seismic work includes strengthening the building walls and roof structure, replacing the roof, reinforcing the connection between the roof and walls, and bracing all hanging items. Replacement of the wood gym floor was the final project at the conclusion of the seismic grant work.