Pasco School District officially places $46.8M bond on ballot

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldNovember 28, 2012 

The Pasco School Board officially approved a $46.8 million bond for the February ballot Tuesday night.

Board members tentatively agreed to an outline of the bond weeks ago, but they approved the language to go on the ballot during the meeting.

Now it's up to voters to decide whether to agree to build three new schools and make building improvements throughout the district.

District officials have said the new schools, which include two new elementary schools and an early learning center, are needed to relieve the pressure in already over-crowded schools.

In addition to the three new schools, the bond is expected to pay for other projects, such as improvements to Stevens Middle School and Pasco High School, as well as the relocation of New Horizons High School.

An estimated $3.2 million will be needed to move New Horizons if the bond doesn't pass in February.

The school is on land belonging to Columbia Basin College, which wants to repurpose the land for its own programs.

The formal bond resolution detailed more specifics about where money from the bond would be spent around the district including:

-- Classroom additions at both of the district's high schools, all three middles schools and all twelve elementary schools.

-- Health, safety and infrastructure improvements, such as upgrading the heating, cooling, mechanical and electrical systems at McLoughlin Middle School, McGee and Edwin Markham elementary schools and the district's Support Services Center.

-- Traffic improvements at Mark Twain Elementary.

Superintendent Saundra Hill pointed out that there are two other projects the district needs to address in the coming years that aren't part of the bond.

About $1.2 million has been set aside for the construction of a new home for Delta High School and $850,000 for new field turf at Edgar Brown.

The district is waiting to see what happens with proposed cooperative agreements with its partner districts in Richland and Kennewick.

Delta High is a science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, school jointly operated by the districts.

Hill said the field turf at the stadium was only meant to last 10 years after installation and is in its eleventh year. "We're already on borrowed time," she said.

The Richland School Board also on Tuesday approved a $98 million bond proposal to put before voters on the February ballot.

The bond revised an earlier bond proposal the board approved in August.

The revised bond will retain Jefferson Elementary as a traditional elementary school, and the district will build Three Rivers HomeLink, one of Richland's alternative schools, its own facility if the bond is approved by voters.

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