Friday, March 30, 2012
It's time for College Place to build a new elementary school to replace the well-worn, inefficient and expensive-to-operate Davis School. And it's time for College Place to have a high school of its own.
The April 17 bond proposal is a well-reasoned plan to cost effectively allow both of those important steps to be taken.
The College Place School Board is asking voters to cover $38.5 million of what will be a $49.4 million project to rebuild the elementary school and remodel the existing two schools. It is expected about 20 percent of the project, about $10.8 million, will come from state matching funds.
Davis Elementary would be demolished and rebuilt to accommodate up to 750 students from kindergarten through fifth grades as well as programs for younger children.
Meadow Brook and Sager would be remodeled, and new construction added to create a middle school and high school with some shared space. The middle school could accommodate about 300 students and the high school 500 students.
Currently, about 400 College Place students attend Walla Walla High School. The annual state funding for those students, about $2.5 million, goes directly to the Walla Walla School District. In addition, College Place directly pays Walla Walla about $700,000 a year, which is equal to the amount of levy funds approved by Walla Walla voters.
The $3.2 million should be enough to fund the new teachers who would have to be hired as well as cover the other educational costs.
Since College Place now has three schools there would be no need to hire additional administrators.
The new structures and remodeled buildings won't be lavish, but will serve their purposes well. A lot of thought went into keeping costs down and efficiency up. The energy costs of operating the improved buildings, particularly Davis, will be significantly lower.
Davis School has simply outlived its usefulness. It's been patched together and kept alive with new additions over the decades. In addition, traffic patterns in the area make it unsafe for students.
A new school changes the traffic patterns to improve safety.
Adding a high school will give students -- and their parents -- options.
Wa-Hi now has nearly 1,900 students. A school that size is not necessarily a good fit for all kids.
A College Place high school will allow students in that community to go to a smaller, nearby school. The school would have sports programs, which means more opportunities for kids to play volleyball, football, basketball, etc.
But those who want to go to Wa-Hi for the experiences and opportunities of a larger school would be allowed to open enroll at Wa-Hi. And, conversely, Walla Walla students could opt to transfer to College Place. The state money would follow them to the school of their choice.
A College Place high school would be a benefit to the entire Valley, not just College Place. We urge College Place voters to support this excellent proposal.