Let’s recycle buildings for Lincoln High project

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Our school officials have hand-picked a small, school-friendly committee to suggest how to proceed on Walla Walla High and/or Lincoln High schools renovation projects.

Committee members suggested they might survey some of the public about another bond.

School officials are considering two options for Lincoln High School. Remodel Lincoln High (the old Paine School) building or completely rebuild it!

Let’s consider a third option.

Lincoln has a fairly up-to-date gym and portable classrooms that most likely meet code requirements and are air-conditioned.

When 400 College Place students relocate, we will have at least six portable classrooms no longer needed at Wa-Hi, all of which also likely meet code requirements and are air-conditioned.

Does the School District plan to destroy these portables and send them to the dump? They probably cost the School District a lot of money, perhaps over $1 million.

I think a good architect could use those portables to build a modern, circular school with a beautiful courtyard in the center. Use part of the first floor of Lincoln for the cafeteria.

If we are teaching our students to recycle, we should set an example with these school resources.

We might save millions by reusing what we have rather then sending it to the dump. I think most people think it’s OK to save millions when possible.

Let’s abandon the false conception held by many school officials that school buildings are only good for 50 years of use.

There are probably hundreds of school buildings around the country that are more than 100 years old and still in use. Some are probably on our local college campuses. All it takes is the will and commitment to maintain and upgrade those buildings as needed.

A fourth Wa-Hi and/or Lincoln High option is better yet!

Let’s get true public input instead of a hand-picked committee from the School Board to determine what direction is pursued for school bonds. Put four or five options on the November ballot with details and estimated cost for each. One option, postpone all new school bonds until every current school bond is paid off. Another option, none of those listed.

The option receiving the most votes could be pursued if desired.

If we followed this approach, we would spend money on expensive architects only if and when we had direction from the majority of the public to do so.

History shows this suggestion, if implemented, would save thousands wasted on un-passable bonds and associated architect fees.

Vern Filan

Walla Walla

Comments

barracuda 1 year ago

It seems to me that the Board wants more and more money, at any cost, just for us to give more money! It seems once they realized that they failed to get us to fork over more money for Wa-Hi, they went into full scramble mode, and looked around for another "to-do-list" project to get us to buy off on. It seems to us that it is all about giving them money at any cost over the priorities of upgrades! .

So, this leaves a big question.... What happened to Wa-Hi? What transpired to get it put on the back burner? Did the problems suddenly get fixed? Or were they real at all? .

It seems we need to set up a list of things that need done, and work at it at it one thing at a time, line item by line item. .

Why did they suddenly feel the need to elevate Lincoln above Wa-Hi? If we get hit with another bond for Lincoln, and it gets approved, are we then going to get hit with a bond for Wa-Hi next election? .

SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT HERE!!!

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fatherof5 1 year ago

barracuda, this article in the U-B today should address your concerns about something not being right. There is no "sudden" elevation of Lincoln over Wa-Hi. Last fall, if you recall, the question was whether or not to package Lincoln and Wa-Hi together or to move forward with just Wa-Hi, while studying the Lincoln situation further.

So, a group has been studying Lincoln further and recently submitted a report. Meanwhile, the Wa-Hi bond didn't achieve 60% support, so the district is now methodically studying how best to respond to the wishes of the community, while still addressing the needs at Wa-Hi.

No secrets. No behind-the-scenes stuff. This has all been in the U-B.

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barracuda 1 year ago

This article does not settle my mind. My question is this: If we pass a bond for a rebuilt/new Lincoln High, is the Board willing to wait until that is paid of to try for another go at Wa-Hi? If so, I see some flaws in this theory. If Wa-Hi was bad enough to the top of the needs to be rebuilt list, why is it now second or third down?

When we voters are paying alot of money for other bonds (named and yet to be named) they seem to think it wise to try again for Wa-Hi now? It makes our argument seem a little stronger. Maybe Wa-Hi's needs are not as bad as you/they stressed before.
If I only can afford a small amount a month more in taxes/bonds. And I am already paying some money a month on other school bonds, and then Lincoln rebuild is on deck for even more money a month, and then we hear Wa-Hi's rebuild is in the future....Hmmmm..

. It seems to me, that if WWPS Board was so adamant about Wa-Hi's needs before, and I believe some of them were/are valid, why should I vote to spend money on Linclon now? When just not very long ago, we were told Wa-Hi is in bad shape, and I want my money to go to the worst (top priority) on the list.

. If we see a bond issue for Wa-Hi on the ballot before Lincoln, why is it good to lay out plans to go for an additional future bond for different project school (Lincoln) in the near future. If Lincoln is on the ballot first, why are we still hashing out Wa-Hi now? They need to prioritize problems on a list, and let us take on one item at a time, not tell us how bad Lincoln is now and how bad Wa-Hi is at the same time. .

And yes, I still feel we need to wait until CP students are out of Wa-Hi and our school is settled before we set a priorities list. 25% of our students are leaving which means 25% of our funds are being cut. .

Lets wait until the dust is settled before we do anything.

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fatherof5 1 year ago

They haven't proposed a Lincoln bond yet, as they are still studying the options as to how to address the problems that exist there. I do, however, think there is little question that the district will have another go at the Wa-Hi bond sooner than later. I think the questions there are laid out in the U-B survey I just took. Will it be a comprehensive, but slightly smaller Wa-Hi bond? Will it be offered in smaller/multiple phases? Either way, given the magnitude of the problems, I'd be very surprised if the district simply gave up on it for a few years like you are suggesting. There would be a lot of unhappy citizens if that were the case. Right now they are simply seeking more input from the voters.

So, when you ask why is Wa-Hi now second or third on the list, I'm not sure where you are getting that impression. Lincoln is in the news because the study was recently presented to the board. We knew that study was taking place a year ago. That doesn't mean Lincoln has suddenly jumped in front of Wa-Hi. The district has 10 schools to maintain; it would be pretty foolish if they just paid attention to one school for 5-10 years and then were surprised to notice another one had something wrong with it.

Two final points: first, no one needs to wait until the CP students are out of Wa-Hi. The district already knows what that will look like. Sixteen Wa-Hi teachers will lose their jobs (or retire or move to CP), class sizes at Wa-Hi will remain identical, science rooms will still not function properly, classrooms in general will still be too small, the track will still be uninsurable, there will be no H-VAC system, the windows will still be single paned........and so on. In other words, you'll still have 1,500 students (instead of 1,850) facing the same issues they do now.

And finally, I made this point several times last winter, but it is worth saying again. With 10 schools in the district, it would take 200 years to get to each one if they were worked on one at a time on 20-year bonds. (100 years between schools with 10-year bonds.) There will always be more than one bond out there at a time. The math dictates this. There is one bond in play now. If a version of the Wa-Hi bond passes in the next year, then there will be two school bonds in play, but the Edison bond gets retired in a couple of years making room, perhaps, for a much smaller bond to deal with Lincoln or with the Pi-Hi gym. I don't know, but I do know that the citizens will get to decide whatever happens, and the district is seeking their input.

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namvet60 1 year ago

Very good letter - if the school board (which I know they are very busy?) would take into consideration some of the alternatives rather than go for the highest amount that they think is available, they might be in reality. I was being facetious about being busy having to appoint another sub-committee to find solutions when the only item on the plate is how many bonds can we throw at the public and see which will stick. If they think that money is so plentiful why is Olympia having trouble with balancing a budget. They need to cut some pork so then something might get done.

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