421 S. Fourth Ave., Walla Walla
WALLA WALLA — The Walla Walla School District is looking to form a committee that will study facility needs at Lincoln High School, with the goal of making a recommendation for improvements.
The Walla Walla School Board has called Lincoln a top facilities need, but has stopped short of seeking money for any improvements in the form of a bond. The district is instead focusing on a bond to remodel and improve Walla Walla High School. The Wa-Hi bond, which would raise $48 million locally, will go to voters in February.
The district is continuing to look at Lincoln, however, with the plan to more specifically identify the school’s needs. Questions about whether the school should remain at its current location, or be remodeled or torn down and built anew, have yet to be answered clearly.
The district is unsure whether there is strong community sentiment toward preserving the 1920s buiding on Fourth Avenue. It is also unclear whether Lincoln students would be better served in a new location.
The Lincoln committee would look to answer all those questions this spring.
As the district’s smaller high school, Lincoln serves students with a more personalized approach. Lincoln enrolls about 200 students, compared to Wa-Hi’s roughly 1,800. Lincoln is in the district’s old Paine School building, which was once an elementary school and then housed the district’s alternative education programs. Lincoln is classified as an alternative to Wa-Hi, and continues to serve at-risk students, or those looking for a smaller school setting. Lincoln’s building has remained largely unchanged since it was built.
During the School Board’s meeting Tuesday night, Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent Mick Miller offered a potential schedule that would have the committee presenting its findings and a plan to the board by June.
Miller said one of the district’s first tasks will be to work with a third-party architectural firm to determine whether the Lincoln building is structurally fit to be remodeled. Miller said there is currently conflicting information on whether it is worth remodeling or should be demolished.
Committee members would be identified in December, with the first meeting to take place in January.