Update 2: The School Board meeting originally set for Wednesday at noon has been rescheduled for Thursday at 3 p.m.
Update: The Walla Walla School Board announced today that it will be holding another board meeting on Wednesday at noon to decide whether to run a bond to build a new science building at Walla Walla High School. The meeting will be held in the district boardroom at 364 S. Park St.
WALLA WALLA — Despite concerns from its Community Facilities Task Force, the Walla Walla School District may yet forge ahead with a plan to build a stand-alone science building at Walla Walla High School.
The task force, formed by the district to make facilities recommendations, recommended Monday that the School Board not put a $10 million bond on the ballot for the April election to build the new science facility.
Instead, the committee requested an additional 60 days to review several options and make a recommendation at a later date.
The task force’s recommendation — which would delay a ballot measure until at least August — is not binding.
The board will meet again tonight to further discuss a possible resolution for the April 22 ballot. To do so, the board must approve a bond resolution before the state’s deadline to file on Friday.
This evening’s regular School Board meeting starts at 6:30 at Prospect Point Elementary School.
“My concern is if the board should put the ballot (on the agenda) tomorrow, that is not enough time to go out into the community and get some feedback,” said Anne Golden, board president.
The options the facilities task force said it would consider include:
• Completely renovate Wa-Hi in two bond issues, with the first phase following the same lines as the facilities committee’s recommendation in October. The first phase was estimated to cost $25 million after state matching funds and cover renovations to the science and academic buildings, as well as the construction of a new science building, a new parking lot and two new soccer fields.
• Build a new science facility, but also ask for funding to renovate the current science building for another use in the same bond issue. An accurate estimate is not yet available for what that would cost.
• Proceed with a plan to construct only a stand-alone science building, which would cost $10 million and hold 10 1,600-square-foot classrooms for a total of 25,000 square feet of educational space.
But if the board does not pass a resolution for April’s election, it will have to wait until at least August to put forward another resolution.
If the board passes a bond this April, it estimates construction on the new facility would begin in the spring of 2015 and be completed in time for the beginning of the 2015-16 school year. A delay until August would likely mean the building would not be ready until 2016-17.
Ben Wentz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8315.