Mapleton School District discusses water issues
Board talks district business, future of pool building
Feb. 24, 2023 — The Mapleton School District (MSD) Board of Directors met for its monthly meeting on Feb. 15. The meeting was held via Zoom as winter illness continued to work its way through the Upriver community and not all participants could meet in person.
The meeting began with only Superintendent Sue Wilson, Board Chair Michelle Holman and Director Mary Ellen Mansfield in attendance. Director Maree Beers joined part way through. Maybe because attendance was light, but business was also kept “light” and no major decisions were made at the meeting.
Of great interest to the entire Mapleton community was when Superintendent Wilson mentioned that the district has begun the search for a viable water source on its property.
“One of the initiatives we approved ‘post-water crisis’ was the digging of a large hole to see if we could hit water and have a well on our campus to support our district’s water needs but also the community,” explained Wilson.
The Mapleton Water District currently gets its supply from Berkshire Creek but, over the past few years, there have been numerous outages and boil water notices put in effect for residents due to issues with leaks, debris in the creek and challenges with the water treatment plant.
MSD would like to help.
“We did find water,” said Wilson. “At 340 feet. The static level is 45 feet. We are anticipating around 20 gallons per minute. Randy [Duval, MSD Maintenance Supervisor] reports he’s been working with Kevin Kimble [Viking Plumbing], Neil Lee and Oregon Water Services on identification of a pump, the next steps now that we know we have water, and determining those costs.”
Wilson said she would have more details about the search for water on district property at the March board meeting.
Another discussion loosely related to water was the continuing discussion about the fate of the building known as the Mapleton Pool Building.
In previous meetings this school year, the board decided to move away from a goal of using that structure for a swimming pool. Various ideas have been discussed but, after Superintendent Wilson didn’t give any concrete plans for making any move, Chair Holman voiced some concern.
“I just have to say that I think the pool building is our greatest priority and our largest liability,” said Holman. “It continues to degrade as it sits there in the weather. It just seems to me like we keep kind of shoving it off — but we can't do that. I just I don't think it's prudent unless we want to just tear it to the ground. We have got a liability with that structure.”
Next, Wilson shared some potential grants the district is working on securing that could help with assessments of the building for things such as asbestos issues and needed seismic upgrades. Holman didn’t seem impressed.
“I’m not comforted,” Holman responded to Wilson. “I went and looked at it myself and it looks like nobody’s home. I have this thought that this thing is going to come crashing down and we’ll have to start over. If we don’t get on it quick, we are really going to be in a world of hurt.”
Holman expressed that she is not comforted by “incremental” movement on plans for utilizing the building.
“I don’t disagree,” said Wilson. “If the money was sitting there, we’d do it. That one [the pool building] is the most expensive and we’re going to have to get creative on how we take action quickly.”
Other items discussed include a project with Connected Lane County. The organization plans to remodel two rooms in the former middle school building and turn them into training facilities for the culinary industry.
“We have agreed to host the space and they [Connected Lane County] are going to take on the cost of creating a commercial kitchen that programming can operate out of.”
The project is scheduled to begin in May for opening in September, according to Wilson.
During the financials portion of the meeting, District Business Manager Jeron Ricks discussed the installation of “Halo Smart Sensors” the district’s bathrooms. These sensors will allow staff to know if someone is vaping inside school facilities.
According to Superintendent Wilson, vaping is a growing problem in MSD but staff has taken a multi-pronged attempt to fight it.
Along with these sensors, administrators have met with the owners of Randy’s Riverview Market who have agreed to move such products and also increase their vigilance in attempt to keep dangerous products out of the hands of area youth.
“Shoutout to the owners of Randy’s, who have been absolutely great in helping our kids make good and healthy choices,” said Wilson.
Wilson also mentioned the district is raising money in hopes of purchasing a new football scoreboard. She said the cost is in the neighborhood of $30,000 and the community has already begun to step up with donations.
The MSD Board of Directors meets monthly on the third Wednesday of each month. The next meeting will be March 15 at 6 p.m. To see the February meeting in full, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0GRTosUdjE&t=1524s.
For more information on the Mapleton School District go to www.mapleton.k12.or.us/.