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November 29, 2022

LO renovation still in the works

Concerns have been expressed by some that Live Oak High will be
shortchanged when it comes to renovation as a result of increased
costs to build Sobrato High. Not so, contend district
Concerns have been expressed by some that Live Oak High will be shortchanged when it comes to renovation as a result of increased costs to build Sobrato High.

Not so, contend district officials.

“We have completed most of the bond-funded renovations and plan to complete the rest,” Live Oak Principal Nancy Serigstad said.

Renovations for Live Oak are funded by approximately $17 million from a $72.5 million bond issue passed in June 1999. Also included in the package were the construction of the new Barrett Elementary and the new Sobrato High.

To date, completed renovations at the school, costing more than $23 million, include five renovated classroom buildings, a new pool, a new library, a new practice gym and an almost-completed all-weather track and widened football field.

A new fiber optic system was also installed, as well as a fire loop.

But students are still waiting for new awnings. The old twisted metal ones were torn down in preparation for installation of the new ones, but there has been a delay.

While some Live Oak staff members would like to see more renovations, including the football stadium itself, Serigstad said the awnings, the boys’ and girls’ locker rooms, the administration building and two classroom buildings, which house welding, food service, art, fashion and design, are all that are left on the bond-funded project list.

“The buildings mainly contain the ROP (regional occupational program) electives, and some of those, such as welding, have been targeted to go to Sobrato when it opens, so it just makes sense to wait,” she said.

The district is still eligible for approximately $5 million in state funds, which would be used on Live Oak renovation projects.

The Live Oak staff was asked to put together a “wish list” of renovations early in the project; a phased schedule was created from the what was judged feasible with the $17 million budget.

Phase one and two projects, which included the new library and practice gym, the pool, asbestos abatement, the five classroom buildings and more have been completed.

Phase three projects include the science lecture hall building (including two classrooms), the science building (remodeling four classrooms), the auditorium, the industrial technology building, the art and home economics building, the boys and girls locker rooms, the all-weather track/football field and the administration building.

School Board Trustee Shellé Thomas said the funding for Sobrato is not being taken from Live Oak.

“There are still wings of the school that have not been fixed yet, and other things that need to be done, but you can’t tie it to Sobrato,” she said. “As a board, we underestimated on every single project and tied numbers to things that weren’t fiscally responsible in our passion to get it (the bond) passed.”

Thomas said the Live Oak staff is concerned that their school will be a lesser school compared to Sobrato.

“They still haven’t seen the final package, this is where the confusion comes in,” she said. “We’re dealing with parity, that we have two schools with equal content.”

Serigstad said part of the hold up on renovations is that some of the programs will be moved to Sobrato, like the welding program.

“If we are going to move the program, it makes sense to wait and not renovate the classrooms at this time,” she said.

Moving the welding is something new to Thomas, she said.

“If I could save $500,000 by not moving welding to Sobrato, wouldn’t that make sense?” she asked. “If we’re moving everything over to the new school, what are we going to do with those buildings? Where does that fit into the curriculum? We’re putting money behind something that we haven’t seen.”

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