Letter - New building will transform science education


The Walla Walla School Board’s decision to place on the ballot a $10 million new science building bond for voter approval in April is a wise step.

Granted, for some this bond is not enough. Some community members correctly argue that climate control systems, small classroom spaces, single-paned windows, dozens of exterior doors, outmoded technology, parking problems, bulky 50-year-old student desks, etc. will not be addressed by this bond.

But the comprehensive bond that would have fixed these things only received 53 percent support, which meant the district needed to bite off smaller chunks.

Everyone agrees there are significant needs at Walla Walla High School, as many of its structures have remained virtually untouched for 50 years. The questions have been how much to do and when to do it.

This bond proposal answers those questions.

This bond builds a new science building with state-of-the-art classrooms and labs enabling 1,500 students to reap the benefits starting in 2016. Visitors to Wa-Hi’s current science rooms are appalled at their limitations.

This bond builds trust with the Walla Walla community by following what voters indicated in surveys they would support, specifically, a phased approach to renovating Wa-Hi, with the science building as the top priority.

This bond buys time to allow the Edison bond to be retired in a few years before voters are asked to support a Phase II Wa-Hi bond.

This bond frees up classroom space in the old science building to limit educational disruptions by providing temporary housing during Phase II projects.

And this bond buys time to further refine plans for a Phase II renovation of the academic building, the library, the commons and the music/drama building.

A new science building will transform Wa-Hi science education. Please join me in voting yes for this bond in April.

Barbara Hoffman

Walla Walla


namvet60 1 year, 1 month ago

"Everyone agrees there are significant needs at Walla Walla High School, as many of its structures have remained virtually untouched for 50 years."

This sentence really bothers me? What did the School District expect that the maintenance would take care of itself? After 50 years without maintenance any structure would fall apart. This is not about the education of the children, it is whether this new structure will outlast the term of the bond?


fatherof5 1 year, 1 month ago

Maintenance and remodeling are two very differing things, namvet, with two very different funding mechanisms. The maintenance budget has supplied custodians to keep buildings clean and to repair broken or damaged equipment over the years. In fact, from what I've seen and heard the buildings are clean and in good repair. That money has been prudently and effectively spent within the scope of what it can do.

This bond isn't about that kind of maintenance in any way. Common maintenance cannot turn 900 sq. ft. rooms into 1,500 sq. ft. rooms. Common maintenance cannot turn 1963 boilers into modern HVAC systems. Common maintenance cannot turn single pane windows into double pane windows. Common maintenance cannot provide the ventilation required for sophisticated science experiments. Common maintenance cannot plumb in water and gas lines. And so on.

When Mrs. Hoffman writes that these structures have remained "virtually untouched for 50 years," she means they remain what they were two generations ago when teaching science was a very, very different endeavor.


ALWWWA 1 year, 1 month ago

Link to Wa-Hi Open House Invitation

Please attend one of the Wa-Hi Science Open Houses and see the current building for yourself. Wa-Hi, especially the Science Building, most certainly has "significant needs." Go see it for yourself.

  • Thursday, March 27
  • Monday, March 31
  • 6 to 8 p.m. (both evenings)

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