Virtual meeting slated to discuss replacing 5 Oak Harbor schools

The Wednesday meeting is a time for the public to have a say in how the buildings will look.

The public is invited to a virtual community meeting Wednesday, Dec. 2, to discuss plans to replace five schools in Oak Harbor.

Oak Harbor Public Schools recently received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for the early stages of the planning and design process, school district spokesperson Conor Laffey said.

The plan to is replace five schools: Crescent Harbor Elementary, HomeConnection/Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center, Oak Harbor Elementary, Oak Harbor Intermediate and Olympic View Elementary. Laffey said the plan to replace the schools has been in the works for a while, but the grant money helped the district move forward in the design process.

“Once we secured that, it kind of opened the doors for us to move forward with some meetings. Now it’s time to bring in the community to get their input,” Laffey said.

Two of the buildings, Crescent Harbor Elementary and the Hand-in-Hand Early Learning Center, could receive an 80 percent match from the DoD because they sit on Navy property; they must also remain on Navy property, Laffey explained.

He said some of the schools would be eligible for matching funds from the state and significant federal funding. Laffey could not give an estimate of the total cost of the project and said COVID-19 may have impacted building cost estimates.

Attendees will hear a brief overview from Kevin Flanagan with NAC Architecture and will be able to ask questions and give input about what they want the schools to look like.

NAC Architecture contracted with the school district in 2017 to develop a long-term facility plan that included some of the schools up for discussion in Wednesday’s meeting.

The firm was also responsible for the renovations at Oak Harbor High School a decade ago.

The high school bond will be paid off in 2022, and Wednesday’s meeting is an early step in getting a new bond for the school replacements on the 2022 ballot, Laffey explained.

“Eventually we’re going to build these schools. They’re old buildings,” Laffey said.

“You have to have the design work done first and have something to take out to the voters that they will be voting on.”

Those who wish to attend the meeting can find the sign-up link on the school district’s website.