I am writing to urge the community of Walla Walla to vote “yes” on the upcoming Walla Walla High School bond.
I am faculty in the Department of Chemistry at Whitman College, and have taught chemistry at several other institutions across the nation. I have seen a lot of outdated science labs, but the facilities at Wa-Hi are shocking. They are not only extremely outdated, they also present an extreme safety hazard to students and instructors.
It is required by law that chemistry labs are equipped with safety showers, proper ventilation, secure shelving and storage. These are the bare necessities that ensure a safe environment, but unfortunately at Wa-Hi those features are either defective or nonexistent.
The actual equipment that is available to perform standard high-school level chemistry experiments is insufficient and antiquated. Simply remodeling is not an option here.
The current ductwork and plumbing could not support any of those safety requirements. An even more concerning issue is that the labs are incredibly overcrowded, which is yet another safety hazard. I am surprised that under these conditions chemistry teachers at Wa-Hi are able to teach chemistry at all.
It is very concerning that while at Whitman we experience a tremendous increase in enrollments in the sciences that corresponds to a national trend, our students at Wa-Hi will not only be under prepared for a college education, but based on their poor science high school experience, they may not consider a future in the sciences or health professions at all.
Vote “yes” for Wa-Hi and give our children a chance in education!