Now is time to vote yes for Wa-Hi

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Please join me in voting yes for the Walla Walla High School modernization bond.

Vote yes so Wa-Hi classrooms will have air conditioning and better heating. When I taught at Wa-Hi in the 1990s, hot classrooms made learning nearly impossible on sweltering days in August, September, May and June. Still today, nearly all instructional spaces at Wa-Hi lack air conditioning.

Vote yes to allow larger classrooms that will accommodate creative and collaborative teaching and learning environments. Currently, many Wa-Hi classrooms are so small that once 32 student desks are put in place, teachers cannot move around the classroom easily to provide one-on-one assistance to students.

Vote yes to give students access to science labs and technology necessary to compete for college admission and jobs in the 21st century.

Vote yes to ensure a safer and more manageable Wa-Hi. The nearly 200 outside entrances in the current Wa-Hi are simply too many. The remodeled school will have about 20 or fewer outside doors.

Vote yes to provide Wa-Hi music students and drama students with better spaces for practice and learning.

Vote yes to build an all-weather track that will get students outside during PE and stop the absurd cost of bussing kids to track & field practice across town at Martin Field.

Vote yes because interest rates are at historic lows, making now an ideal time to borrow money.

Now is the time to improve Walla Walla High School. The plans for a remodeled Wa-Hi take into consideration the decrease in students caused by the building of College Place High School. In addition, the district listened to community members and developed a practical plan that maintains the open, park-like concept of the current Wa-Hi. The plan does not include a football stadium or swimming pool because voters made it clear they don’t want those expenses now.

From the outside, Walla Walla High School is postcard perfect. Before voting on this bond, please acquaint yourself with the sorry state of the inside of Wa-Hi.

Please vote yes so that when visitors comment on the beautiful setting of Wa-Hi, we can all answer by saying, “Thank you. Our community supports our schools, and now the inside of the school is just as amazing as the outside.”

Barbara Hoffman

Walla Walla

Comments

Commonsense01 1 year, 10 months ago

I voted no.. To expensive.. too many wants. Income taxes raised, can't afford another $200-$300 + for a fancy shiny school. They need to look at the basics, A/C, Windows some paint & flooring the furniture and equipment and computers can be paid for by applying for grants. Good Start... The track - take teh $$ your spending at Borleske and apply it to a new track, 20K per year thats a good chunk of $$ the track will be paid in full in a few years then use that 20K thats allocated for other capitol improvements.

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fatherof5 1 year, 10 months ago

To Commonsense, your "fancy, shiny" description minimizes the current realities at Wa-Hi. Increasing classroom sizes so there is room to maneuver between students for individual instruction is not shiny. Rebuilding science rooms so the ventilation, plumbing, and space allows for labs to be conducted isn't fancy. Giving the drama department its own classroom and room to store props isn't shiny. Building an on-site track that isn't condemned by the district's insurance company and that can be used by PE classes, as well as used to keep athletes from boarding buses to Borleske daily isn't fancy.

There are sound reasons for each of these projects. We just paid off a bond. Another bond will fall off in five years. We currently pay less for schools than most of our neighbors. You have characterized this in other posts as "outrageous." It is not. Better to do it right once, than to dink around the issues using duct tape and regretting it later.

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namvet60 1 year, 10 months ago

fatherof5 - if you want to keep up with the Jones or Kennewick or Spokane or Seattle take out a loan and put your money into it and leave the rest of the citizens out of it if they can't afford it. End!

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Use.Wisdom 1 year, 10 months ago

fatherof5 -- I too share your sentiments, and am glad I live in this community. Thank you for counteracting opinion with facts. I'm voting "YES" for kids, and proud of it.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 10 months ago

  1. Why is a new soccer field needed?
  2. Why is a new track needed?
  3. For the science labs, why not bust down the wall separating the lab and classroom? then upgrade that space. I was shown the horrible lab, but saw others that didn't appear in need of repair.
  4. Why does the admin office need to move?
  5. Why is a new parking lot/drop off zone needed?

It's my understanding that the more square footage that is rennovated, the more matching funds are given by the state. Sounds like the district is taking advantage of that and asking for the moon.

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fatherof5 1 year, 10 months ago

ImJustSayin, here is my understanding: 1. When they fix the parking by the gym to address congestion and make it the new main entry for students, the lot will expand over the existing soccer field. So the soccer fields will need to slide over to district-owned land to the west.

  1. The track is current not insurable due to its age and condition. Also, 180 track athletes are bused daily to the Borleske facility throughout the spring. The new track will address daily PE needs, as well as the transportation costs and training needs of the track team.

  2. There are a variety of needs with the science rooms, which include space, ventilation, plumbing and storage. We could spend money to patch up the ones we have, but that still doesn't increase the number of labs, or we could spend more to do it right and have a permanent fix.

  3. The admin office is currently located on a corner of the campus. It makes sense for a variety of reasons for it to be in the center, which would also be near the new main entrance. This would also free up the current admin space to be used for more classrooms in the Academic building.

  4. The parking/drop-off situation is currently chaotic. It requires paid personnel each day to direct traffic. Before and after school, cars and kids come and go from all directions and intermix with the bus lanes. Then there are the evening events several nights each week where you hardly dare to park in the Big Gym lot, because you know you could get stuck there for 20 minutes trying to get out. I could go on, but suffice it to say, it is currently both unsafe and inefficient. How it is done now evolved over 50 years and was never planned out properly.

Hope that helps.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 10 months ago

Not sure those explanations warrant 60+ million dollars...

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fatherof5 1 year, 10 months ago

I wouldn't pay $60 million for just those 4 projects either, but they represent a fraction of the total work to be done. There are a long list of other improvements too. So would you pay $15 million for those 4 projects, which is approximately what is budgeted for them? I would. (Our local cost will be $48 million, by the way, not $60 million.)

What I like about the total package is how much it accomplishes and that it does so in a comprehensive, coordinated manner. My attitude is: let's do it now and do it right so that we can take advantage of the current cost savings and we won't have to deal with it again for a few decades.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 10 months ago

We need to pay for the NEEDS, not the WANTS. When the school district gets this fact and goes back to the drawing board, then you might get this thing passed.

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fatherof5 1 year, 10 months ago

"Need" is a tough concept on which to find agreement. We all agree classrooms "need" oxygen and shelter. That's obvious. What about white boards instead of chalk boards? What about updated history books? How about email for communication between parents and teachers? The schools have added these things in the past 10-20 years. Did they "need" them?

Honestly, I could make a case for each of these being "wants" but those who work in or around schools know that so much more has been accomplished with these past upgrades. So I ask, do we "need" to accomplish more in schools? Do students "need" to have lab experiences in science? Do PE students "need" an all-weather outdoor track to run on during the winter months? Do classrooms "need" to be less than 90 degrees in June and September? Do the drama classes "need" their own classroom?

Well, not if you compare those "needs" with needing air to breathe or shelter. But if the goal is to offer the youth of Walla Walla a first-class education, then we do, indeed, "need" these things.

What is your goal? If your goal is for our schools to settle perpetually for doing the best they can under sub-standard circumstances, then I guess you will vote "no." My goal is higher than that, which is why I believe we "need" these improvements.

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ImJustSayin 1 year, 10 months ago

Your reply is why this won't pass. In our personal lives, we live on a budget. When things are tight, you pay for what is needed and if there is money left over, you look at "wants". This is a terrible economy and most don't have the luxury of excess dollars that apparently you do.

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fatherof5 1 year, 10 months ago

I don't have a luxury of excess dollars any more than they did two generations ago when they first built Wa-Hi. (Why do you guys insist on making assumptions?) There is never a "right" time, but people dig deep to get done their priorities in spite of tough times. I think education is a priority for this community. Besides, our bond rate drops considerably in five years, and the bulk of the 20-year bond will most likely be paid off in better economic times.

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barracuda 1 year, 10 months ago

Fatherof5... I hear we will be going again in 5 for Lincoln High....

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fatherof5 1 year, 10 months ago

I haven't heard that, but it certainly is possible. Lincoln is a mess. If a bond is put up, citizens will have to decide on its merits at that time.

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