3 Kennewick School District programs to be in new location

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldNovember 8, 2012 

Phoenix High School and two other Kennewick School District programs should have a new home in time for the 2013-14 school year.

District facilities manager Doug Carl told the Kennewick School Board on Wednesday night that he and other district officials are working on a final floor plan for the alternative high school's new location at 1315 W. Fourth Ave., across the street from the district's administration building.

"We're moving full speed ahead on this," Carl said.

The building, which the district bought earlier this year and has 19,000 square feet of open space, primarily would be dedicated to Phoenix High, with enough room to double its current enrollment of 62 students.

However, a portion of the building would be set aside for the Legacy Online alternative education program and the Peer Assistance and Review, or PAR, program, which provides mentoring for district teachers.

Carl said the plan is to have the project out to bid in February with construction work taking about four to five months, finishing in the summer.

"That's excellent, I had no expectation it would move that quickly," said board member Ben Messinger.

As for other district construction projects, the rebuilding of Cascade Elementary is about four to six weeks ahead of schedule. The walls of the school's new gym are up and bracing is in place for the new kindergarten wing.

The district also finished installing a new heating and cooling system at Highlands Middle School, a new bus loop and portable classrooms at Vista Elementary School and improved the playground and irrigation system at Canyon View Elementary School, Carl said.

Also Wednesday, the district ended the 2011-12 school year in the black, according to a budget report to the board.

Finance director Vic Roberts said increased enrollment combined with faculty and staff wages and other expenses coming in under budget led to a $2.5 million surplus at the end of the year.

After transferring part of that to the district's capital and transportation funds, it increased the general fund balance by about $1.8 million, he said.

The 2012-13 budget also is looking good.

-- Ty Beaver: 582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com

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