I have three impressions after touring Walla Walla High School’s science building.
1) We are fortunate to have such well-trained, energetic and dedicated science teachers as the ones I met Thursday night. They support each other’s teaching and share common spaces and equipment. And they are proud to be teaching at Wa-Hi.
2) There is no wasted or unused space in the building. Classrooms and labs are crowded. Closets and storerooms are packed. There is no room for expansion or for students to carry out special projects.
3) The building is obviously obsolete. It is way behind in meeting modern standards for basic needs of safety, lighting, ventilating and air conditioning, human traffic flow, let alone contemporary expectations for lab science instruction.
Although their appearance is not shabby, all the classrooms and labs are well-worn. The faculty and staff have done a remarkable job of keeping this building going. They have already attempted lab upgrades to a few rooms, by making lab spaces from former classrooms, with marginal success.
Infrastructure throughout the building is archaic. Improving each service one by one might seem prudent and cost effective; but taken together each improvement entails all the others. Attempting to renovate will be tantamount to rebuilding the entire facility.
It’s time to build a new lab science building, and re-purpose the old one to non-lab science uses.
Edwin A. Karlow