Saturday, January 19, 2013
The proposal to modernize Walla Walla High School, at a total cost of almost $70 million, is almost as ridiculous as it is insulting.
The insulting part is that the School Board thinks we voters should accept this enormous price tag and not question the wisdom of it.
It is a fact that Walla Walla High School student numbers will be significantly reduced when students from College Place are no longer there. Yet this $48 million school bond includes such waste as building more restrooms in the academic building, music and drama building, science and math building, fitness center and vocational career technical education building.
In addition, larger classrooms and expanded parking for students and faculty are planned. How does building interior hallways, instead of using existing breezeways, improve learning? Is there something wrong with fresh air?
Other expansions include more music classrooms, more practice rooms, more administrative spaces, an elevator for attic storage, a new kitchen addition and larger cafeteria. We will be paying for millions of dollars in expansion costs for a high school that is actually decreasing in student numbers.
There is no indication Walla Walla will be experiencing any real population growth in the next decade. I support spending money to modernize and maintain our high school. However, modernizing and maintaining does not mean spending $70 million to build bigger parking lots, more bathrooms, larger classrooms and elevators to nowhere.
The Walla Walla School Board members are way overreaching on this project. They remind me of car salesmen who want you to believe that even though your current vehicle looks good and runs good, now is the best time to buy that $60,000 SUV, because later on they are only going to get more expensive.
I say give Walla Walla High School a new engine and paint job, at a cost of about $5 million instead of $48 million, and it will serve our students well for many more years.
Vote “no” for this ridiculous proposal, and force the Walla Walla School Board and superintendant to come up with a common-sense alternative that goes easy on our pocketbooks, yet improves the educational experience for our students.
Jeffery C. Bickle