When the shovels — albeit ceremonially — went into the ground last week in College Place, construction started that will result in the city having its own high school.
College Place voters approved in 2012 a $38.5 million bond that coupled with a $10.8 million state match will a finance a $49.4 million construction project for three school buildings.
That’s a lot of money, particularly for a smaller school district such as College Place’s. Voters agreed to add to their property taxes $2.70 per $1.000 of valuation. Owners of a $100,000 pay an additional $270 a year. The most recent bond effort to revamp Walla Walla High School, which failed, was 68 cents per thousand.
The 60 percent support for the College Place bond proposal is an indication of just how much folks wanted their own high school.
The growing excitement in the community is another. College Place School District officials are apparently pleasing the people as the plan for a high school is starting to come to fruition.
“There’s so many people that were instrumental (to the new high school),” Superintendent Tim Payne said last week after the ground was broken. “That’s confirmation for the administration that we were working hard for the community, it’s satisfying for the School Board (members) and their vision — the list goes on.”
The ground involved in the ceremonial event was at the current Sager Middle School. The Sager building is being replaced to build a new facility for College Place High School. Meadow Brook Intermediate School will get some upgrades and changes to become a middle school and will be renamed Sager.
Athletic facilities are being built at CPHS to accommodate sports such as football, baseball and track & field. The high school teams will most likely compete at the 1A level as the Hawks.
CPHS will open without a new building this year as it welcomes its first freshmen class. Those students will attend classes in the current Sager structure.
The completed high school will then be up and running in the fall of 2015 for a sophomore and freshmen class. Another class will be added each year until CPHS has about 350 students in the 2017-2018 school year. And its first freshmen class will graduate that spring.
Having a new high school will bring changes to College Place. Although nobody knows for certain exactly what each one will be, a great many in the community are happy the journey has begun that will bring about those changes.