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Construction starts on McNary High School expansion


SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — Friday morning marked the groundbreaking of the construction for the McNary High School expansion.

According to Salem-Keizer Public Schools officials, overcrowding is a major issue, so to help alleviate the problem, the school will build more than two dozen new classrooms, a new science lab, more career-technical spaces and additional parking spots.

The improvements are possible because of the $620 million bond voters passed in May 2018, which will update a handful of schools in the district. Of that money, around $52.6 million will be invested in improvements at McNary.

“What it really did was bring the community to galvanize around the importance of education and how important the environment is to learning,” Lisa Harnisch, co-chair of the bond committee, said.

The expansion was also made possible with the agreement of land acquisition from the St. Edward Catholic Church. 

Father Gary Zerr, the pastor of the church, told KOIN 6 News, “We had a great relationship with McNary before and we continue to have one. I think it’s important that two of the largest entities in Keizer cooperate.”

McNary High School was built back in 1964. The structure will receive seismic upgrades as well as more safety and security features at the entrance.

“McNary High School has one of the most unsafe entrances into the school where people could come in and the office just wouldn’t know about it,” Harnisch said. “Our kids are left vulnerable at that point.”

More improvements planned at McNary:

  • Exterior seal

  • Garage door replacements

  • Select flooring replacements

  • Plumbing

  • Ventilation improvements

  • Intercom system upgrades

  • Additional music support

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