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Oakland School District asks voters to support new gym, safety upgrades

A banner reading "Oakland" is displayed under a basketball hoop.
Oakland School District
If the bond passes, the new gym would be built next to the middle school. The Washington gym is in town, more than a half-mile away.

Voters in the Oakland School District in Douglas County will decide Nov. 7 whether to support a $6 million school bond. If it passes, it’ll be matched by a $4 million state grant.

Oakland Schools Superintendent Jeff Clark said the bulk of the money, roughly $6.5 million, would pay for a new middle school gym.

“We have our middle school teams playing down at our Washington School, which is about a 110 year old gym building," he told KLCC. "The bathrooms have been condemned. We’re not allowed to send people downstairs anymore, so we have porta-potties in there, and it’s just a really old, antiquated building and it’s also off campus, so we’re trying to get this bond passed so our students can be served on campus.”

Clark said a new, freestanding gym would also be used for activities and classes, including band and performing arts.

The balance of the funds would cover the cost of new entry vestibules for safety in each of the district’s three schools and pay for upgrades to the softball field.

Clark said in 2018, the district floated a bond of nearly $20 million, which would have replaced the high school. The bond failed, with 60% voting “no.”

Clark said the district heard the voters. The district has been working with the buildings it has, but Clark feels the Washington gym has deteriorated to the point it’s worth asking for community support.

If passed, the levy would cost property owners about $1.15 per $1,000 assessed value.

Karen Richards joined KLCC as a volunteer reporter in 2012, and became a freelance reporter at the station in 2015. In addition to news reporting, she’s contributed to several feature series for the station, earning multiple awards for her reporting.