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9/19 Community Meeting with 2016 Bond Project Team

over 3 years ago

Last night Dr. Rob Clark introduced the 2016 Bond Project team to the Milton-Freewater community. All team members who are directly involved with the design and construction of the new Gib Olinger K-3 Elementary School and Grove Sports Complex were present including:

  •          Scott Rogers, Senior Project Manager from Wenaha Group, Inc.
  •         Kevin Cole, Architect, Architect’s West
  •         Alec Holser, Architect, Opsis
  •          Jason Terry, Project Manager, Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company
  •          Jeff Deswert, President, Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company

Each team member spoke and discussed their role with in the project process. Several key topics were addressed including the strong desire for continued community input, the commitment to “right-sizing” bid packages to maximize opportunities local trades and business, as well as the ability for students to job shadow tradespeople during the construction process. The presentation concluded with the architect team presenting some draft layouts of the new elementary school based on the feedback from the community focus groups that occurred in late-August earlier September. A very preliminary 3D floorplan “app” of the interior was shared and will be available in the coming weeks. Additionally a basic schedule was also shared with the community to demonstrate the timelines for the various projects throughout the District.    

Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company selected as Construction Manager / General Contractor

over 3 years ago

Milton-Freewater Unified School District is excited to announce the selection of Kirby Nagelhout Construction Company (KNCC) as the Construction Manager / General Contractor (CM/GC) for the 2016 Bond projects.  Although KNCC is based out of Bend, OR and works throughout the state, it is notable that they have an office in Pendleton which will give them the ability to dedicate local employees and resources from that location to oversee the projects. KNCC has been working with the District since last fall on the seismic upgrades to the Mac-Hi gymnasium which were recently unveiled at a community open house. 

The KNCC team will be providing consulting, value engineering and estimating services during the pre-construction phase of the project and serve as the general contractor during construction, holding the trade contracts and providing management and construction services during the construction phase. The company has committed to help lead the team design and construct cost-effective, durable and functional facilities. Additionally they have a proven track record and dedication to maximize local involvement by hiring local workers, utilizing local services as well as using local suppliers and subcontractors to complete the work. 

Currently the District’s Bond Project team is still in a schematic design phase and has been engaging with the Milton-Freewater community in related conversations. Architects West/Opsis Architecture team have held several work groups to foster participation for various design elements and will be looking for continued community involvement over the next several weeks. The next community forum is expected to be held at the end of October.

Bond market conditions extremely favorable to Milton-Freewater Unified School District

over 3 years ago

By Caryn Appler

Bond market conditions on the day of the sale were extremely favorable to Milton-Freewater Unified School District.  The Milton-Freewater Unified School District recently sold its $12.5 million of bonds at an average price of $115.82 per $100 of bond face value generating an additional $1,910,854.25 from the sale. The District’s careful planning and involvement with public finance firm representative, Matt Donahue from DA Davidson, allowed the District to generate the extra proceeds while staying under its estimated target tax levy of $1.10/$1000. Interest rates had fallen to new historic lows in the days leading up to the District’s bond sale and the District’s bonds were sold with an all-in true interest cost of 2.56%.

These additional funds will provide some added cushion to the District’s current 2016 Bond Project contingency budget. However, it is the District’s goal to manage the project budget so that the funds can be spent addressing needs of additional projects not currently listed within the bond project scope of work which include: K-3 Gib Olinger Elementary School, Grove Sports Complex, relocation of the bus barn and maintenance yard, and various projects at McLoughlin High School, Central Middle School and Ferndale Elementary.

Architects West and Opsis Architecture Team Selected for 2016 Bond Projects

over 4 years ago

Milton-Freewater Unified School District is excited to announce the selection of the architects for the 2016 Bond projects.  The District has selected the team of Architects West and Opsis Architecture; Architects West is based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Opsis Architecture is based in Portland, Oregon. Both firms have done a wealth of work throughout eastern Washington and Oregon, and Architects West has been working with the Milton-Freewater Unified School District (MFUSD) throughout the pre-bond planning process. The District went through a very methodical public selection process, receiving proposals from eight different firms, interviewing their three highest-ranking choices before selecting Architects West and Opsis Architecture.

In April, the District School Board voted to award the contract for 2016 Bond Project Management Services to Wenaha Group, Inc., based out of Pendleton, Oregon. This action was taken in preparation for the Bond Measure and award was contingent on successful Bond passage. It is important to note that issuing the RFP prior to the election helped the District save 3-4 weeks in the project timeline so Bond project activity could commence immediately after the election. Like Architects West, Wenaha Group has also been working with the District throughout the pre-bond planning process. Wenaha Group will be acting as the “clerk of the works” over the Bond project schedule, budget, coordination of design, interacting with the community, working with contractors and ensuring that measures are taken to involve local businesses as much as possible.

The next area of focus for District’s Bond Project team will be to engage with the Milton-Freewater community in design related conversations – the Architects West/Opsis Architecture team is crafting several work groups to foster participation. The District will be looking for community involvement over the next several weeks  to gather input for the various design elements for the new Gib Olinger K-3 building and the new Grove Athletic complex.  These community forums are expected to be held during the first two weeks of August.

Wenaha Group, Inc. selected as Project Manager

over 4 years ago

In preparation for the bond passage Milton-Freewater Unified School District issued an Request for Proposal (RFP) for Project Management Services.  On April 11, 2016 the School Board voted to award the contract to Wenaha Group, Inc. based out of Pendleton, Oregon. It is important to note that issuing the RFP for Project Manager prior to the election helped the District save 3-4 weeks in the project timeline and Bond project activity could commence right after the election.

Prior to the election Project Managers Scott Rogers and Caryn Appler from Wenaha Group had been working with the District to assist with necessary Pre-bond facilities assessments, conceptual planning and communication services. 

Wenaha Group is currently leading the District through the architect selection process for post-bond services. The selection process is expected to be complete by the end of June 2016 in accordance with the project timeline.

The District has set a goal of completing all projects by December 2018.

Requirements and Conditions of Grant

over 4 years ago

Gib Olinger Elementary School

  • The building will be a K-3 Elementary School
  • It will be approximately 75,000 square feet
  • It will be located on the lot owned by the school district commonly referred to as the “cannery lot”
  • It will be completely new construction
  • The old warehouse will be demolished
  • We will attempt to use the site well for geothermal efficiencies
  • The building will have photo-voltaic panels on the roof
  • Any other energy efficiency situations will be considered
  • The building will have a full sized wood floor gymnasium with sparse seating and locker rooms (Gym may be used for middle school or high school junior varsity teams)
  • Outdoor space will contain ball and play fields, restrooms and concession building
  • The building will be named after Gib Olinger a former civic stalwart of the Milton-Freewater community
  • The school district will vacate the campuses of Freewater and Grove

Grove Sports Complex

We will develop a Sports Complex on the site at Grove (named Grove Sports Complex)

Current plans include:

  • 2 Regulation soccer fields
  • Measured walking/jogging path
  • Parking
  • Seating, concessions, restrooms

Bus/Maintenance Yard

The bus yard and maintenance office will be moved off its current site at the high school at a site to be determined.

Ferndale School

Ferndale will become a grade 4-5 facility

There is approximately $200,000 in the budget for technology upgrades and repairs to the building at Ferndale.


There is approximately $1,000,000 dedicated to HVAC upgrades to the Mac-Hi facility.

Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation Grant

over 4 years ago

Gladys Valley (ne-Leibbrand) graduated from Mac-Hi in 1925 and married Wayne Valley and in 1977 formed the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation in the Bay Area. The Foundation’s mission is to provide grant support to organizations and projects which strive for excellence and carry out their programs in a well-managed and cost-efficient manner, with clearly defined and achievable goals. The Valley Foundation was instrumental in the construction of the new library in the early 2000’s.   In 2003 the Foundation voted to sunset with a target date of September 2018 to allow enough time to exhaust the Foundation assets; the grant awarded to Milton-Freewater Unified School District is part of this wind-down process. 

Over the last seven months the District has been in contact and negotiations with the Valley Foundation about a grant to build a new facility.  This process was started late last spring when the Valley Foundation visited Milton-Freewater to look over Library project.  In discussion with Doug Henrichs, who was the Library Board chairman at the time the Library was built, Tammy Valley (daughter of Wayne and Gladys) posed the question “Is there was anything else the Valley Foundation could do for Milton-Freewater?”  The discussion moved to a new elementary school and Mr. Henrich formed a committee and worked with Architects West to draw out the possibilities. 

On October 29, 2015, the District received word the Valley Foundation had awarded the Milton-Freewater Unified School District a $15 million dollar grant to build a new elementary school.  This grant is contingent on the school district and community passing a matching grant of at least $12.5 million dollars.  What an opportunity for our community!

You can read more about the grant here.

In 2001 the Foundation generously offered a $1.25 million grant to Milton-Freewater to build a new library and in 2003, the completed library was named in honor or of Gladys Leibbrand Valley. 

Community Focus Groups for design input to be held mid-August

over 4 years ago

In mid-August please look for invitations and advertisements from the District to participate in several focus group meetings to gather community input for various design elements for the new Gib Olinger K-3 building and the new Grove Athletic complex. The Bond Project Team, comprised of District Administrative Staff, Project Manager Wenaha Group and Design Team Architects West and Opsis Architecture, need your input to help develop building and site designs that meet the specific needs of the Milton-Freewater community.   Focus groups will be broken down into various areas that will require direct meetings with stakeholder groups that best understand these needs and can assist in visioning the best possible solutions for the proposed projects. 

The goal of these focus groups will be to provide information to the Bond Project Team which will be gathered, organized and prioritized according to needs and available funding. This information will then be put forward to the District School Board as a recommendation for which elements and features should be incorporated into the design.

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$12.5m Bond Measure on May 17, 2016 Ballot

over 4 years ago

On Monday night our Board voted to ask our community to pass a $12.5 million bond measure on May 17.

Passing a $12.5 million bond would qualify the District for a grant from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation for $15 million and a state education grant of $4 million (Senate Bill 447).

Additionally, if the bond measure is approved, the District will discontinue the collection of taxes for the current Local Option Levy from 2013.

A History of Construction in Milton-Freewater Unified School District

over 4 years ago

As the school district prepares for an upcoming bond issue in May 2016 we believe it is important to revisit where we have been. 

The five main buildings in this district and their approximate date of construction:

McLoughlin High School




Social Studies Quad


Science Quad    


Agriculture Building        


Central Middle School


Central Gym and Science Rooms


Central Main Building


Grove Elementary


Grove Addition


Freewater Main Building




Ferndale North Wing


As you can see by the dates above, our school district and community has not built a new facility since 1922.  There have been renovations and upgrades since then, but no new facilities from the ground up since 1922. The District’s buildings are some of the oldest operating facilities in Oregon.

There have been several ballot measure attempts to build new or updated schools over the last 30+ years. The District has The school district is running a bond issue to build a new facility and modernize others on May 17, 2016. 

Your participation requested! Focus groups for design input

over 3 years ago

By Caryn Appler

The Milton-Freewater Unified School District wants to engage with YOU! These are your schools and we want to hear from you.

Starting in late August through October the District will be holding several focus group workshops to gather community input for various design elements for the new Gib Olinger K-3 building and the new Grove Athletic complex. We are seeking individuals who have direct experience in the categories listed below or a particular interest in the following areas: 

Focus Group Name




Community Use

Aug 24, 2016

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Central MS Conference Rm

Athletics / Playground PE

Aug 24, 2016

7:30 – 8:00 pm

Central MS Conference Rm

Public Art / Historical

Aug 25, 2016

6:00 – 7:00 pm

Central MS Conference Rm


Aug 25, 2016

7:30 – 8:00 pm

Central MS Conference Rm

Art / Music / Drama

Aug 26,  2016

2:00 – 3:00 pm

Central MS Conference Rm


Sept 12, 2016

2:15 – 3:15 pm

Central MS Conference Rm

Ferndale, Central and Mac-HI

Sept 13, 2016

10:00 am -12:00 pm

Central MS Conference Rm

The goal of the focus group workshop will be to provide information to the Bond Project Team which will be gathered, organized and prioritized according to needs and available funding. This information will then be put forward to the District School Board as a recommendation for which elements and features should be incorporated into the design.  

Participation in these focus groups will potentially be an ongoing commitment; the District respectfully requests that community members who wish to participate remain available throughout the duration of the process.

Please note that in addition to the focus group workshops intended to provide constructive input to the District design process the District will be holding Open House events where community members can meet the Bond Project Team, ask questions and voice opinions.

If you would like to participate please email Dr. Rob Clark, Superintendent,

The District’s project team is excited to keep the Bond Project process moving forward and ensuring open communication and engagement with the Milton-Freewater community.  Please forward this invitation to anyone who you think might be interested in participating.

Communication Survey Results

over 4 years ago


The Milton-Freewater School District “How do you get your news?” survey was open for 20 days and closed on 1/7/2016, in total 49 people responded to the English version of the survey and 0 responses were received from the Spanish version of the survey. All responses were complete.

Social Media (Facebook) ranked highest for news source for Milton-Freewater School District. A 3/4 majority of respondents stated they receive news their on a regular basis.  For newspaper news source, respondents spilt between Valley Herald (16%), Walla Walla Union Bulletin (29%) and the East Oregonian (6%) but an overwhelming 49% stated that they did not have a newspaper subscription at all. Additionally, respondents described their primary news source as supportive of Milton-Freewater (45%), accurate and reliable (16%) and covering news and information that they are interested in (39%). 

Out of the 49 respondents, 29% work for Milton-Freewater School District, 39% attended Milton-Freewater School District, 29% have a student who is attending Milton-Freewater School District and only 20% who responded have not connection with the District.

Community Facilities Planning Meeting Notes

over 4 years ago

Grove Elementary Community Meeting 12/15

On Tuesday 12/15 evening Milton-Freewater Unified School District held a community meeting at the Grove Elementary School gymnasium/cafeteria.  Nearly 60 community members attended the evening event. Attendees’ connections to the District ranged from those who are parents, teachers and District staff to former graduates and business owners.

The agenda of an evening included a welcome and introduction from Grove Elementary School Principal Ami Muilenberg  which was followed by an overview of the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation Grant and Gib Olinger Elementary School by Superintendent Dr. Rob Clark. After which questions were solicited from attendees to address any questions they might have.  

Principal Muilenberg and Freewater Principal Aaron Duff then introduced the evening’s activities that involved splitting the group in half where one group of the attendees would participate in a campus site layout activity of the new Elementary school on the Seneca Property while the other half would participate in an activity where they jotted down their thoughts about the elements they would like to see, or not see, about different components of the school.

After each group went through their respective exercise for 15 minutes the groups switched places. At the conclusion the group was encouraged to do a Gallery Walk around to look at the collective commentary on the “wall writing” activity and each group’s site plan was recorded. In closing, attendees where offered a building site tour of the Grove campus.     

Freewater Elementary 12/10

Thursday, 12/10/15 Community Meeting Notes

 Available Space

Several people asked about the available square footage of the buildings and the acreage of the campus overall.

That information will be gathered and sent to you. 

Community Center

While there were a range of different elements/programs that you would like to see, the consensus was that Freewater should be turned into a community center. 

Below are some of the specific ideas-

 Strong Kid Oriented Component:

-A hub/home base for Milton-Freewater's youth sports programs

-Open gym

-Kid classes

-Child care

During School Hours:

Adult learning classes (possibly senior citizen focus)


Walking track outside

A cardio room with elliptical machines

Pickleball courts


-Community Health Center

-Free Clinic (nearest one to Milton-Freewater is in College Place)

Possible Examples:

Maridell Center in La Grande (


Sustainability if revenue is based primarily on membership

Some expenses could be addressed with volunteers

Possible revenue from rental of the facility for events

Connected/Related Information:

Randy Grant and Jim Goodenough part of community development group who have been working on an identified need of a community center for several years.  They shared that Freewater presents the opportunity for a facility to house a community center.  The group has already identified potential grant sources to support facility renovation.

More detailed information from Randy and Jim’s group will follow.

Jueves, 12/10/15  Notas de la Junta Comunitaria

Espacio disponible
Varias personas preguntaron por los metros cuadrados disponibles de los edificios y de la superficie general de la escuela.

Esa información sera recopilada y enviada a usted.

Centro Comunitario
Si bien hubo una serie de diferentes elementos / programas que le gustaría ver, el consenso fue que Freewater debe convertirse en un centro comunitario.

A continuación se presentan algunas de las ideas- específica

Componente Orientado a Niños para fortalecerlos:
-una aula/base general para los programas deportivos juveniles de Milton-Freewater
-Gimnasio -Abierto
-Clases –para niños
-Cuidado de niños

Durante el horario escolar:

Clases de educación de adultos (con la atención principalmente a los ancianos)

-caminata afuera
-Una sala de cardio con máquinas elípticas
-Tribunales de Pickleball

Cuidado de la salud:
-Centro de Salud -Comunitario
-Clínica -Gratis (la más cercano a Milton-Freewater esta en College Place)

Posibles Ejemplos:
-Maridell Center en La Grande (

Preocupaciones / Ingresos:
-Sostenibilidad si los ingresos se basan principalmente en la membresía
-Algunos gastos podrían abordarse con voluntarios
-Posible ingresos de alquiler de las instalaciones para eventoso o oficinas

Conectado / Información relacionada:
Randy Grant y Jim Goodenough parte del grupo de desarrollo de la comunidad que han estado trabajando en una necesidad identificada de un centro comunitario durante varios años. Compartieron que Freewater presenta la oportunidad de un centro para albergar un centro comunitario. El grupo ya ha identificado las fuentes de subvenciones posibles para apoyar la renovación de instalaciones.

Una información más detallada del grupo de Randy y de Jim seguirá.

Thank you Voters, Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation

over 4 years ago

The Milton-Freewater School District is very pleased to announce that on May 17, 2016 our community voted 78.71 percent in favor of a $12.5 million bond (2,044 votes for and 553 against).  The total bond package equals over $31.5 million which includes an additional $15 million from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation and $4 million from State SB447 Grant funds. Monies will be used to build a new K-3 "Gib Olinger" Elementary School, Grove Sports complex and various other District projects.

Our sincere thanks to the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation and our community, civic organizations and staff for seizing this once in a lifetime opportunity. Please continue to visit the 2016 Bond Projects Page for news and information about the projects as they develop.

Facilities Planning Process

over 4 years ago

As we forward with the District's facilities planning process it important for you to know what work has already been done.  Prior to the Grant announcement we had two community meetings on September 22 and October 15 to talk about facility needs and improvements. On November 10 we had a community meeting to announce the grant and talked about the steps we need to take to move forward and asked for community input and assistance in accomplishing these goals. 

In order to obtain the matching funds required for the Grant the Board made a commitment to run a bond issue on May 17, 2016. The District is working with Wenaha Group, Inc. of Pendleton, OR and Architects West of Coeur d’Alene, ID to assist in estimating, community outreach, building plans and exploring additional financial support, including other third party funding sources and incentive/grant programs.   We have been holding Core Team meetings with District Administrators and these subconsultants to build a strategy for everything that needs to be accomplished. We have also had our first facilities team meeting to discuss the next steps in creating a plan for the bond issue including what District wide projects will be funded by the bond.  This committee will visit our current facilities to understand the need for improvements.  They will also visit new schools in our area to start determining what we want our new school to look like.

 The District will also be holding additional community meetings and site tours of each school campus and we encourage you to join us at these meetings to ask questions, share thoughts and stay informed.  We will also be adding additional information to this page as we flesh out the details.

It is important for our community to understand that we are working on an unusually condensed and accelerated schedule to achieve the goal of passing the bond, obtaining the Grant and improving our schools. This is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity for our community.

$4m in matching funds Senate Bill 447

over 4 years ago

We are overjoyed to announce that Milton-Freewater School District has a received a commitment of $4 million dollars from the Oregon School Capital Improvement Matching Program (OSCIM) contingent on passing a General Obligation Bond in the May 2016 election.

Oregon Department of Education held a webinar yesterday afternoon to announce which School Districts would be a recipient of the Senate Bill 447 (SB447)/ OSCIM.

SB 447 is the legislature’s implementation of the recommendations put forth by the Task Force on School Capital improvement Planning established in 2013. The primary goal of SB 447 is to encourage communities to pass local school District general obligation (GO) bonds to address the deferred maintenance problems present in Oregon’s schools.

Only 10 Districts (including MFUSD) were selected for the OSCIM Program “Priority List” and 6 Districts were selected for the “First in Time” List.

Information regarding the SB447 program, results of the Districts who received funding and additional information can be found on ODE’s website:…/priority-and-first-in-time-lis…