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Construction FAQ: Edison

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


What is happening and why?

A new building for Edison Elementary School is being built to open in fall 2022.

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.

Where will students go during construction?

Edison has moved to a temporary school site while the new school building is constructed in the same spot where the old building was located on the small school property.

Edison will be located at the Willard swing school at 29th and Lincoln for two school years, 2020–21 and 2021–22. Teachers and students will return to the Edison site once the new building is completed in 2022.

Temporary School Site FAQs

Was there a farewell to the old Edison Elementary building?

The district created a virtual visit video to give families, alumni, neighbors and other community members one last look at the Edison building, as an in-person farewell event could not be held due to the coronavirus pandemic. The video can be viewed on Vimeo or Facebook.

How can I get updates on 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 our Facebook page for ongoing updates on 4J bond projects.

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.


School Design

What will the new Edison look like?

The Edison Elementary School design team of Mahlum Architects and Robertson Sherwood Architects have completed the design of the new school, meeting district standards, reflecting community input, and incorporating some mementos of the old building into the new.

The new school is designed with a traditional look and some northwest style elements to fit into the neighborhood context. Architects’ renderings showcasing various views of the school design can be seen at the link below.

Edison Elementary School Design

Will any portions of the old Edison Elementary building be preserved?

The new Edison will honor the building’s history with historic displays and repurposing some materials in an interpretive preservation approach, not by preserving any portions of the old building façade. This was the preferred approach identified by community input in the preliminary design planning process. (See Edison Elementary School Design Direction.)

Some elements from the old Edison building will be incorporated into the new school, as has been done with other school building replacements in the past. The five character traits murals will be reframed and displayed prominently in the new building. Some of the old light fixtures will be incorporated at the front of the building. The copper-topped “bell tower” cupolas will be used in creating one kiosk located in a small plaza near the community garden. We plan to incorporate an information display and the little free library. The original “Edison School” sign will be relocated to the west façade of the building near the community garden. Some of the old bricks were salvaged and will be incorporated into the retaining wall that defines the plaza area for the cupola kiosk. A number of bricks also were set aside for neighbors who wanted to come by for a souvenir. (See Edison Elementary School Design Determined.)

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 similar footprint on the property, providing more space for students while leaving room for outdoor playfields and green space.

What are the plans for the school’s trees?

Trees are important part of both the school’s site and the neighborhood. The district has worked with our designers, a landscape architect and an arborist to evaluate the trees that have the best chance for long term survival and what trees to plant when replacing those we have to remove.

We know that the loss of trees is not anyone’s first choice. However, it is simply not possible to save them all. In some cases trying to work around the trees would leave the trees in a severely weakened condition and would greatly increase project costs. We have removed a number of trees with permits issued by from both City of Eugene planning and Urban Forestry Departments. A few additional trees will need to be removed before the new school is finished.

The site design includes planting more trees than the district is removing, to help offset this loss. This includes both site and street trees. The landscape architect has selected trees that will thrive and provide the new school a greater plant diversity than before. The new trees will be smaller but, once established and grown, will provide years of beauty, shade and habitat at the Edison site.

Are sustainability strategies a part of the school design?

The 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. There will be space set aside for a garden.

Is the new school designed to support modern learning technology?

The new school 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. The general scientific consensus, based on currently available knowledge, is that there is no evidence of an increased risk of harmful health effects in children or adults due to radio-frequency exposure from increased electrical power capacity or wi-fi in schools.

What was 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.

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.

The design process for each of the new school buildings has included two community open houses to provide information and seek feedback during the schematic design and design development stages. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, some of the originally planned open houses have been online design update presentations with online feedback surveys, rather than in-person community open houses.

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.

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


School Construction

What is the timeline for construction?

  • Fall 2020: New school design Completed
  • Fall 2020: Salvage of useful, reusable, recyclable and sentimental items Completed
  • October 2020: Asbestos abatement Completed
  • December 2020: Demolition of the old building  Completed
  • Winter 2020–Spring 2021:  Excavation for the building pad and foundations Completed
  • Winter 2020–Spring 2021: Concrete footings, foundations and slabs installed during excavation Completed
  • Fall 2021: Construction of the building shell In Progress
  • Fall 2021–Spring 2022:  Interior improvements will likely begin this fall and be completed in the spring of 2022
  • Spring–Summer 2022: Final site work, commissioning and move-in
  • Fall 2022: New building opens

Will there be an increase in neighborhood traffic?

There will construction traffic, with varied intensity of traffic in the neighborhood depending on the construction activity taking place.

The district is working with the contractor to minimize inconveniences to the neighborhood and to be a good neighbor during construction. The contractor will comply with all applicable traffic, noise and other applicable codes and regulations.

We will keep this site updated and communicate regularly as necessary to keep the neighborhood informed about upcoming activities.

Will the demolition involve hazardous materials? 

The district has worked over the years to reduce hazardous materials in our schools.

For this project we specifically hired a professional environmental engineering firm to explore, analyze and determine the presence of any hazardous materials including asbestos.

We also hired a licensed and bonded abatement contractor who worked under the rules and regulations mandated by the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, LRAPA.

Will any 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.—were packed and moved. The furniture and casework—shelving and cabinets—at Edison largely were moved to the Willard site.

After moving 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 are salvaged for other school locations or stored for future use. Items of value that the district will no longer use may be sold, such as the generator.

Any remaining furniture and equipment are offered to other school districts, charter schools and private schools. Next, local nonprofit organizations such as BRING Recycling are 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 are sorted and recycled where applicable. At least 75% of these materials were recycled at Edison, keeping more materials out of the landfill.


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