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Tour rebuilt Vernonia Schools

On Saturday, Vernonia School District will show off its Vernonia Schools building, the first public K-12 campus to be certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum.

Published on May 7, 2015 9:01AM

VERNONIA — The Vernonia School District will provide tours Saturday of Vernonia Schools, which recently became certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum, along with three out of four globes for the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes program. It is the first LEED Platinum-certified public K-12 campus in the nation.

The school’s construction started in December 2010, after the previous school had been badly flooded during the Great Coastal Gale of 2007, leaving students in portable classrooms and traveling to neighboring districts.

Construction was finished and classes started in September 2012.

The event runs from 10 to 11:15 a.m. Saturday, with an unveiling of the new awards, recognition from local and state dignitaries and tours of the building. The Community Garden Fair & Plant Sale will take place concurrently in the school commons area until 3 p.m.

Speakers at the event include state Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose), state Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie), Columbia County Commissioner Tony Hyde and School Board Chairman Bill Langmaid.

Vernonia School District and its K-12 campus is located at 1000 Missouri Ave.

The city was flooded in 2007 and 1996. After the Great Coastal Gale in 2007, residents passed a $13.6 million bond as a down payment toward the $40 million rebuild, along with several other sources:

• FEMA contributed $11 million.

• The Oregon Department of Transportation gave $3.8 million and worked on Missouri Avenue leading up to the school and a new exit on Oregon Highway 47.

• The Oregon Department of Energy gave $1 million.

• The Ford Family Foundation gave a challenge grant of $1 million, stipulating that an equal amount had to be raised.

• The school district secured a $3.3 million Qualified School Construction Bond.

• The district borrowed $1 million from Wedbush Bank using a facilities grant as the collateral.

• A $1 million Cool Schools Grant funded engineering of the new building.

• Between $3 and $4 million came from donations and other sources.

While the school secured the necessary funds to complete the construction, there is still work to be done to reduce the remaining financing. The district aims to close the final $5 million in construction loans in the coming months.


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