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.