Bond to be sought for College Place high school

The district has an application in with the state and will seek funding from voters in April.

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COLLEGE PLACE -- With an application for an emerging high school on its way to the state, School Board members Tuesday accepted a recommendation to include a high school in the district's facilities plans.

To that end, the board unanimously voted to seek a bond measure next April to build a high school. A cost has not yet been decided, the district's superintendent said today.

About 30 people, including staff and residents, attended the special board meeting and participated in discussion about positive aspects of the district schools, as well as challenges to overcome.

ESD 123 project manager Dak Logsden presented historical background on the district's facilities, and recommended that future configurations of facilities include Davis School for grades K-5, Meadowbrook/Sager for grades 6-8, and a high school for grades 9-12.

Presently College Place does not have a high school. Most high school-age students attend Walla Walla High School. Superintendent Tim Payne said this morning the district has between 375 and 410 students who attend Wa-Hi, and probably another 100 or so who attend private schools or are homeschooled.

A College Place high school is not a new conversation. A bond measure to build a new high school ran unsuccessfully in the early 2000s, and more recently voters twice turned down the district's request for bonds for K-8 facilities.

The district is positioned well to seek a bond, with all district bond obligations being paid by the end of the year, including a bond commitment to the Walla Walla School District for a high school gym, Payne said.

Although there are concerns that a 400-student high school would not be able to offer everything Wa-Hi does, Payne said College Place will not be in competition with Walla Walla.

"We're not going to try to be a Wa-Hi comprehensive, do-everything school." The concept for the new high school is to focus on certain things, and do them well, "more of a magnet," Payne said.

Carrie Chicken can be reached at cec@innw.net or 522-5289.

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