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FAQ: New Camas Ridge Elementary School

Following are some frequently asked questions about the design and construction of the new Camas Ridge Elementary School building. This FAQ will be updated over time as the project progresses and new questions arise.

Overview & Timeline 

What is happening and why?

A new building for Camas Ridge Elementary School will be designed and built to open in fall 2024.

Local voters approved a bond measure in November 2018 to fund capital improvements at every 4J school and replace North Eugene High School, Edison Elementary School, and Camas Ridge Elementary School with high-quality facilities built for school safety, modern seismic standards, sustainability, and 21st century education.

What is happening now and what comes next?

Architects have been selected and have begun design work for the new Camas Ridge school building, including opportunities for community engagement and input. The school design will be completed in early 2022.

Construction will begin in 2022 and be completed for the new school to open in fall 2024.

School Design Process

What is the school design process?

Design of each of the three new school buildings funded by this bond measure is following a similar process established to provide consistency and equity between buildings, cost-saving efficiency in the design process, and opportunities for community updates and feedback. The school board decided to apply this process, which is somewhat streamlined from earlier school design processes, when reducing the cost of the proposed bond measure in 2018 for community affordability.

School design is guided by the district’s community-informed Long-Range Facilities Plan, User Experience Study, School Design Vision & Values, and Educational Specifications for School Design, incorporating extensive community engagement and input at the front end of planning and design for all the new schools.

The design process for each individual new school building includes two community open houses to provide information and seek feedback on the schematic design and design development stages. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of the originally planned open houses have been held online rather than in-person.

In addition, a series of community meetings and input opportunities were held in spring and summer 2019 about how, where and when to build the new Edison and Camas Ridge elementary schools. This community input informed decisions to rebuild Camas Ridge and Edison at their current sites, remove and replace the Edison building without preserving portions of the original building in place, and replace the more seismically unsound Edison building first, followed by Camas Ridge.

An extra online presentation also was added in March 2021 for the Camas Ridge community to review and provide input on the preliminary building siting concept. The preliminary site plan concept was then refined responsive to the community feedback received, including reducing the parking lot and relocating elements to protect an area where a large number of camas bulbs are located.

More about:
Long-Range Facilities Plan
Building User Experience Study
School Design Vision & Values
How, Where & When: Edison & Camas Ridge Planning

Who is designing and constructing the new Camas Ridge school building? 

The architect team chosen for this project is Pivot Architecture, a local firm with more than 60 years of experience including designing four previous Eugene School District 4J school buildings: Howard and River Road/El Camino del Río Elementary Schools, which opened in 2016 and 2017, and Holt and Chávez Elementary Schools, which opened in 2004.

Chambers Construction, a local construction company founded in 1955, will coordinate the planning and construction of the new school building alongside Pivot Architecture. Chambers is an experienced partner on numerous past 4J projects, including the construction of three new school facilities for River Road/El Camino del Río, Holt and Chávez Elementary School, and Gilham Elementary School’s second phase expansion underway now.

Local Architect Chosen to Design New Camas Ridge
Local Contractor Joins Camas Ridge Project Team

What design updates have been presented so far?

In addition to the two community open houses planned for each school design process, an extra early-stage online presentation was provided in March 2021 for the Camas Ridge community to review and provide input on the preliminary building siting concept. The preliminary site plan concept was then refined responsive to the community feedback received, including reducing the parking lot and relocating elements to protect an area where a large number of camas bulbs are located.

Preliminary Building Siting Plan Presentation (Slides and Video)
Community Feedback Received on Preliminary Building Siting Plan

The first of the two regular design open houses was held on May 26, 2021. Families, neighbors and community members turned out virtually to get an update on school design progress through schematic design, ask questions and give feedback. The community input gathered during this phase is helping to inform the next steps of school design. 

Schematic Design Update Presentation (Slides and Video)
Community Feedback Received on Schematic Design Update

Frequently asked questions from these meetings and surveys have been incorporated into this FAQ.

When is the next design open house?

After the extra early-stage presentation in March, two community open houses will be held during the design process, as provided in the other school rebuilds, before the school design is completed. The first was held in late May.

The next community open house will be held in early fall 2021. This community update and feedback opportunity will incorporate progress through design development.

School Design Elements

How big will the new school building be?

The new building will be designed to serve about 450 students, to align to modern educational standards and ease overcrowding in neighborhood elementary schools. The new two-story building will have a smaller footprint on the property, to provide enough space for students while leaving more room for outdoor playfields, parking, and open green space.

Where and how much parking will be provided?

The number of parking spaces at a school site is based on City of Eugene Planning Code requirements and allowances and the operational needs of the school. Current site planning includes significant adjustments to the parking lot size and layout, responsive to community feedback.

The planned parking lot is being reduced to the minimum required number of spaces. The City of Eugene requires parking for an elementary school to provide 1 space per 8 students. For the new Camas Ridge this is 57 spaces, as the design of the new school provides for 450 students. The City Code allows for a 25% expansion or reduction in the number of spaces provided, so the allowable range is 71 to 43.

To reduce parking below the minimum of 43 spaces, a traffic engineer would need to produce findings that for this school, the use of alternative modes of transportation and/or special characteristics of the users will reduce expected vehicle use when compared to standard elementary schools. The district would then need to develop a Transportation Demand Management Program (TDM) to be approved by the city. Camas Ridge Elementary School does not currently qualify for a TDM program, and is not in a position to make changes required to qualify. There will not be a special reduction in the minimum required parking.

The number of parking spaces at Camas Ridge was originally planned to be 71, and was reduced to 61 reflecting community feedback on the initial site plan concept. Responsive to additional community input, the district is revising the school site plan to further reduce parking.

The parking lot will be reduced to the minimum of 43 spaces—less than the number of staff who will be working in the school building—with the understanding that this may cause parking shortages and congestion at high-traffic times such as dropoff, pickup, and school events.

Parking will not be further reduced below this point.

Will there be parking for bikes and skateboards?

The design will provide covered open bike parking, secure bike parking, skateboard and scooter parking as well.

Will there be safe walk and bike access?

Students get to school at Camas Ridge by many modes of transportation, including walking, biking, school bus, car and carpool. The design team is incorporating considerations for safe routes to school, public safety and neighborhood access, including ways to provide bike and pedestrian friendly access from all sides, with safe transition from adjacent streets to the school building and other site amenities.

There are access points at or near all corners of the site. The northwest access is not at the corner because the field is higher than the sidewalk, an ADA access issue, so access is moved east to accommodate a universal access point. The southeast access point has been adjusted closer to the corner and crosswalk to allow immediate site access. There is a wider multiuse path to provide safer transition along 29th Avenue to school site access points. More details will be provided in the next community update.

School district staff including the district’s Safe Routes to School coordinator are working with the City of Eugene to coordinate pedestrian safety improvements on and around the school property. The district will discuss with the city suggested street improvements and what the city may be willing to provide for additional pedestrian safety measures.

Will sustainability strategies be a part of the school design?

The three new schools will be much more energy-efficient and sustainable than the buildings they replace.

When building new schools, 4J places a priority on sustainable design and construction, within cost constraints, and with a design goal to meet or exceed LEED Silver standards.

Sustainability measures that may be considered include measures such as energy-efficient systems, passive warming, cooling and daylighting, solar panels, rainwater reclamation, and other green and renewable energy technology and alternatives.

Will the new school be designed to support modern learning technology?

The new schools will be built to support current and future educational needs, to the extent we can predict.

Most 4J school buildings were constructed in the mid-1900s, when learning technology consisted mostly of books, slide rules and an occasional film strip. Our older school buildings were designed for that earlier era. They weren’t built to support modern teaching and learning activities, or to easily integrate modern technology that is integral to education today. Today, teachers and students use a variety of technology in teaching and learning, including individual student and teacher tablets or laptops, interactive whiteboards, document cameras, digital projectors, digital microscopes, and more. Tomorrow’s technology will continue to evolve.

Supports for modern teaching and learning technology are retrofitted into older 4J schools, with expanded electrical power outlets, fiber-optic internet feeds, and building-wide wi-fi access. In new school buildings these technology considerations are built into the design from the start—without technology blackout zones or the need for bundles of exposed cables running through the halls.

Will single-occupancy / gender-neutral restrooms be provided?

Yes, the 4J Educational Specification provides for single-occupancy restrooms in each restroom cluster.

Will there be outside windows and/or doors in classrooms?

Every classroom will have an operable window per 4J standards. The building also will have good ventilation, with mechanical ventilation systems including factory-installed bipolar ionization (BPI) units similar to the upgrade that was retrofitted into districtwide systems during the pandemic.  Building controls provide the ability to adjust systems as needed, with all, additional or no outside air, to respond to outdoor air quality and other issues.

Like other recently constructed school buildings, classrooms will not have direct exterior doors, but will have ready access to the outdoors through the adjacent collaborative classrooms. There are several reasons for this districtwide school design element, key among them school safety and security—reducing the number of access points reduces risk.

Will there be space for a garden?

Yes, a garden space is provided in the design. The detailed planning of the garden has not yet been completed. The project team will present more information about the garden and other spaces in the next community design update.

Will there be a covered outdoor learning space?

There will be covered outdoor space for learning and activities. The project will attempt to preserve the current covered outdoor classroom, and will provide a covered outdoor activity space and a covered outdoor dining/socialization space. The project team will present more detailed information about covered outdoor space in the next community design update.

Will there be a school track?

The site will have many more paved pathways and paved areas for activity and movement than the current site. These will allow for student and community use as a walking path. A separate standalone track/path will not be included. The district’s educational specifications and program include field space but not tracks at elementary schools. School tracks are installed at high schools and some middle schools. 

Will the camas bulbs on the east side of the property be protected or relocated?

Responsive to community input about the camas bulbs, the project team refined the site plan and adjusted the parking lot location to protect the area where a large number of camas bulbs are located.

What will happen to items of significance on or around the school building?

The design team is evaluating elements identified as significant to determine if they can be relocated to the new school. At other schools, some items have been relocated to the new school and others have been photographed and the images incorporated into the new school.

School Construction

When will the new school be built?

Construction will begin in late 2022 and the new school will be completed to open in fall 2024.

Where will students go during construction?

The new elementary school is expected to be built in the same area of the school property where the old building is now, so Camas Ridge will relocate from its current building to a temporary site while the new school building is constructed.

During construction, Camas Ridge will move to the Willard swing school at 29th and Lincoln for two school years, 2022–23 and 2023–24.

Will there be neighborhood impacts such as traffic, noise, dust or hazardous materials?

When demolition and construction gets underway, there will be some traffic and noise in the neighborhood, with varied intensity depending on the construction activity taking place.

The district will work with the contractor to minimize inconveniences to the neighborhood and to be a good neighbor during construction. The contractor will be required to comply with all applicable traffic, noise and other applicable codes and regulations. Demolition dust will be contained with water and debris will be removed in an orderly manner.

The district has worked over the years to reduce hazardous materials in our schools. For this project we will hire a professional environmental engineering firm to explore, analyze and determine the presence of any hazardous materials including asbestos. We also will contract with a licensed and bonded abatement contractor who will work under the rules and regulations mandated by the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, LRAPA.

Will materials be reused or recycled when the building is demolished?

When demolishing a school building, the district takes steps to reuse or recycle items or dispose of materials in a sustainable manner, to the extent feasible without increasing costs or adding delays in the tight timeline of the construction schedule and consistent with board policy on disposition of property.

First, the things that will be needed in the new building—teachers’ classroom materials, library books, etc.—will be packed and moved to the temporary school site at Willard.

After moving out everything the school will need for continued operations, various items, from doorknobs to kitchen equipment, that are in good condition, suitable, and expected to be needed for reuse in 4J schools will be salvaged for other school locations or stored for future use. Items of value that the district will no longer use may be sold.

Any remaining furniture and equipment will be offered to other school districts, charter schools and private schools. Next, local nonprofit organizations such as BRING Recycling will be invited to collect items they wish for reuse or recycling. For example, when the old Howard school building was being replaced, surplus kitchen equipment was donated to the Eugene Mission homeless shelter, which had lost all of its kitchen equipment in a fire.

Finally, as the demolition progresses, building materials will be sorted and recycled where applicable, keeping more materials out of the landfill.

Learn More

Do I need to sign up to get updates on the bond projects taking place in my neighborhood?

The district encourages anyone interested in the school bond projects to subscribe to receive occasional significant updates. You can sign up for the bond news email list by sending an email to bond@4j.lane.edu, and follow the 4J Facebook page for ongoing updates on 4J bond projects.

School staff and families and the near neighbors of major school bond projects will receive some notifications through other means, regardless of whether or not you subscribe to the bond newsletter. Different planning and construction activities require different types of notifications and the district will endeavor to keep all of our community informed.

More information: