Wednesday, October 10, 2012
WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla School Board continues to explore facility improvements at Lincoln High School. But whether the district should remodel, rebuild, or explore other options for the city’s smaller public high school is still unclear.
During a facilities work session Oct. 2, board members reviewed two plans for Lincoln High School, 421 S. Fourth Ave. One option would preserve the 1920s building by remodeling it, and add some new construction. The other choice would demolish the old building and rebuild it into a new two-story facility. Both proposals, including state matching funds to either remodel or rebuild new, would cost about $8 million.
The board is not yet clear how it could seek the money. The board is for now focusing on a potential bond to remodel Walla Walla High School.
Board President Max Carrera said during the session he would like to see some type of improvement done to Lincoln, which served as an elementary school before being converted into the district’s alternative high school. Lincoln is no longer classified as an alternative school, but rather a smaller choice in addition to Wa-Hi.
With a student population of about 200, Lincoln has become a school of choice for some students in recent years. It offers smaller class sizes, a family-like atmosphere and more individualized instruction for students needing to make up credits to graduate.
The building has seen no major improvements since its construction nearly 100 years ago, other than the addition of a gym and portables.
One immediate need in the Lincoln building is adding bathrooms better suited for high school students, rather than grade-school aged children. There is also a need for wheelchair access in the building, which has a basement, a main floor and a second story but no elevator.
Carrera suggested using reserves, or exploring other funding options, to make immediate and necessary improvements to the school, rather than letting the facility needs drag out longer. Board member Cindy Meyer agreed, but said it would be wasteful to make improvements and then see those upgrades demolished in a few years if a more comprehensive plan moves forward.