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PAA Facility and Property Update, Nov. 3, 2022

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

PAA students in the hallway

UPDATE, Jan. 12, 2023: As of early January, two of the three city hearings have been completed and closed.

On November 3, 2022, Principal Mechelle Peinado shared the following update about PAA.

Dear PAA Family,

Every single day PAA staff have the amazing privilege and opportunity to teach a group of students that God brings to us. We get to share His love and hope while educating, challenging, pushing, encouraging, supporting, and loving each student – every day. We are so incredibly blessed to be able to serve Him in this mission. This is what PAA is all about.

Often I am asked about our property and the buildings; usually about the lack of landscaping in our main parking lot, the appearance of our main hallway ceiling, and the feasibility of painting the exterior of our school. I would love to share background information about our facility, where we are, and where we are headed.

Master Plan and City of Portland

Years ago, a master plan was filed with the City of Portland which included new buildings and changing property lines. The school began moving toward this by building the turf field, bringing in utility infrastructure necessary for the new buildings, and beginning the new parking lot. Despite years of concerted, dedicated efforts, sufficient funding was never realized and the project stalled.

In 2019, the constituency (the body of churches and persons who govern PAA) voted to abandon the filed master plan and move towards a remodeling approach. In order to do this, the master plan had to be closed with the city. This included revising property boundary lines and working with the city to finalize an agreed list of nonconforming items (items that the city will still require to be completed from the original master plan).

To work towards this, PAA applied for the necessary hearings with the city, and the process began. Due to COVID, changing city personnel, and changing city regulations, this process is still ongoing. The latest estimate by our attorneys and architect/engineering firm is for the city to make its determinations in February 2023 (they have warned me that this is a tentative estimate and could be pushed again).

Until this process is completed, PAA cannot get permits to do work on campus unless there is an emergency.

Once the process is complete, PAA will be required to complete the nonconforming items before other permits will be issued. It is expected that the nonconforming items (all separate from the school building) will include:

  • Covered and uncovered bicycle parking

  • Street and campus sidewalks installed

  • Outside lighting

  • Paved bus parking and drop off zone

  • Final asphalt layer on main parking lot

  • Irrigation system

  • Landscaping (requirements are proscribed in detail by city – down to size and species)

  • Parking lot gates

  • Abandoning the west parking lot/entrance (a nonnegotiable requirement by the city)

The current estimate we have for nonconforming matters is $2-3 million dollars.

Main Building

Once nonconforming matters are dealt with we can move to building needs. A recent rough estimate for a complete remodel of our current building, which would include replacing the roof (not the gym roof – which was done last year), replacing the aging boiler system with a much needed HVAC system, as well as a multitude of other aging building needs, was about $10 million dollars.

Often people ask me why we don’t do obvious fixes, like the landscaping or fix the main hallway ceiling or paint the outside of the building. Each of those is a much bigger project than often realized. Each has been bid at different times, none for less than $150,000. Each has complicated elements.

Landscaping – highly regulated by what was approved in our master plan originally and what the city is requiring. The plans identify what and how much has to be in each planting layer as well as which plant species and its size for every area, as well as how many plants. In addition, the plan requires irrigation first, which we do not have and is a significant cost

Main Hallway Ceiling – it is ugly. There is no argument. The tiles are mounted with asbestos glue (safe in its current form), changing it would require abatement. The cause of the ugly is threefold:

  1. The height of the ceiling (it is reachable for students and very tempting to poke as generations of alumni have shared with me)

  2. Above the ceiling are our boiler system pumps and pipes which frequently leak and cause the ugly stains. Until the boiler system is addressed, any new ceiling will be quickly stained and damaged as well.

  3. The roof leaks. There are two layers of roof over most of our main building (one was put over the other). They both leak. The challenge is finding the holes and patching them, since where they leak in the building is often not where the outer roof is leaking. It is something we spend a lot of time on every winter.

Painting the Exterior of the Building – it is huge and very tall. It cannot be done without special equipment (lifts and scaffolding). There is rotting trim all over the building that is secured to asbestos siding, which has to be abated in order to remove the trim.

Each of these pieces, and more, would be part of an overall remodel plan.

Moving Locations

One suggestion that is raised by some is moving the PAA campus elsewhere and building new.

Building new is exciting, but experts put the cost well over $30 million dollars, and we would still need to fix the nonconforming items to satisfy the city requirements. Building new costs an incredible amount of money, and even selling our current property would not come close to covering it.

Another consideration is our location. Although some express concern about our location, there are tremendous benefits. Our current mission and student population is possible because of our location. We serve a diverse group of students and families, and cherish that opportunity.

Because of our central location, we are able to serve students who come from all directions: from Woodland to Salem, from Forest Grove to Rhododendron. Many of our students ride the MAX. Being close to the freeway and a MAX stop makes it possible for many of our students to attend. Moving our location would change the makeup and diversity of our student body.

Moving Forward

Our school board’s Building Committee has a comprehensive, prioritized list of our larger building/property needs. There is also an overall maintenance plan for the buildings. In addition, any urgent repairs will be dealt with as they arise.

A prioritized need is safety gates for the south (main) parking lot. These gates would not only address nonconforming issues with the city, but would also help with security. Student safety is our top priority. Our security gate fundraising campaign is seeking to raise $150,000 to replace the chain link manual gates with electronic steel gates that have cameras and can be secured and opened remotely.

The next big picture focus is addressing our nonconforming items with the city. Following that, we will address the remodel (as a whole or in stages).

What we look like matters. A lot. We put all available resources into maintaining what we have and keeping it in as good a condition as possible. We care. The money that is needed to make improvements is very significant. We don’t have it right now. This is, and has been, a matter of daily prayer for us. Please join us in praying for God’s leading and provision.

I want the building and property to look beautiful and will keep working towards that – one step at a time.

Our mission is: “Because we desire to follow Christ’s call to transform our community and our world, we guide and educate young leaders to be Christ Centered-Character Driven.”

As we take steps toward renewing our campus, remember – the most important thing about PAA is what happens inside our buildings every day: the relationships that are built, the experiences and learning that happens, the connections and support and encouragement students experience, the staff that seeks to love each of them every day with Christ’s love.

I hope this background and update is helpful. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. You may reach me by email or at 971-351-9037 (direct).

Thank you for being part of the PAA family!

Mechelle Peinado Principal

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