Ground broken for new College Place high school

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COLLEGE PLACE — College Place broke ground for its new high school Wednesday morning, marking the culmination of decades of efforts to build the city its own secondary school.

College Place High School is set to be completed in its entirety by December of 2015, but will be built in stages. The district’s ninth-graders will attend classes in the Sager Middle School gym — the only part of Sager not being demolished — beginning in the fall of 2014.

The main school building is set to be completed in time for students to attend classes in fall of 2015.

For Superintendent Tim Payne, who was also the superintendent in 2004 when a bond to build a new school failed, breaking ground on CPHS was a momentous occasion.

“There’s so many people that were instrumental (to the new high school),” Payne said. “That’s confirmation for the administration that we were working hard for the community, it’s satisfying for the school board and their vision — the list goes on.”

Voters passed a $38.5 million bond in 2012 for construction of CPHS and a new Davis Elementary, along with the renovation of Meadowbrook Intermediate School, which will eventually serve as Sager Middle School. The school is being built by Leone and Keeble, Inc. of Spokane, which also is building Davis, for $25.9 million.

Passage of the bond marked the first successful election for College Place Schools since a 1994 bond to build Meadowbrook and renovate Sager.

Voters rejected a $559,800 bond to buy land that could have been used for a high school in 1998. College Place voters also turned down a similar bond in 2004 that would have built a new high school and elementary school for $17.75 million.

College Place resident Joan Howton, who helped organize a letter writing campaign to the Union-Bulletin to support the 2012 bond, was excited for the new high school to be built.

“I think it’s a really good thing for College Place and I think they need it,” Howton said. “I have three boys going through (College Place Schools) and it will all be new. Not only physically, but the teachers will be new and it will all just be fresh. I’m very excited about the new school.”

Ben Wentz can be reached at benwentz@wwub.com or 526-8315.

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