Bond could help makeover Wa-Hi

Bond could help makeover Wa-Hi »Play Video
WALLA WALLA, Wash. - "It's been a very lengthy, process but we've really been engaged in this past two years," said superintendent Mick Miller.

Walla Walla School District is hoping it all pays off. A $48 million bond is on the ballot for February. It will cost homeowners about $67 dollars for every $100,000 their home is worth. Not an exorbitant hike, but voters still have to agree.

Dennis Rae said, "It's going to be a tight squeeze to get people to vote for it."

Dennis Rae was part of the Class of 68 at Wa-Hi. The school was practically new back then. It's pretty antiquated by now. Outdated technology, broken desks, no storage space and most importantly, overcrowded classrooms.

"I got to fit 32 students into this small classroom and make sure that they're still safe,"said Terry Carlsen, science teacher.

Larger classrooms are at the top of the list for a remodeled school. At least 16 portables currently house more than 300 extra students.

A remodel would leave only the original roofs, beams and slabs. An updated Wa-Hi could improve learning spaces, and increase safety for kids in the classrooms.

"This is far out of compliance for current recommendations," said Terry.

The upgrades to this campus which is nearly half a century old are important, nothing's more important than saving money. The district currently spends 25 grand a month on utilities and with the upgrades in place they stand to save money for years to come.

The remodel would include a new HVAC system and replace wiring.
The biggest money saver will be energy-efficient windows and lighting. The school hopes to save at least a quarter of what it spends now.

Dennis Rae hopes people will see the bond as a worthy investment in the future.

He said, "I think it's pretty important, it's high on my list."

The bond is set for the February ballot and the property tax hike would be in effect for seven years. The state is expected to kick in about half the cost to rebuild the school.

If all goes as planned the new and improved Walla Walla High would take 3 years to complete.