New Delta High facility may be built in Pasco

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 13, 2013 

A new facility for Delta High School may end up on Road 100 in Pasco if the Richland and Kennewick school districts approve of the recommended site.

The Pasco School Board voted Tuesday in favor of the proposed site in a modified cooperative agreement between the three school districts. If the other districts approve, it would move the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, school from its current location in Richland on Northgate Drive next to the Richland Public Library.

Superintendent Saundra Hill said the land hasn't been purchased yet and the districts and the Washington State STEM Foundation are still lobbying for the bulk of the school's construction money from state lawmakers. Nevertheless, board members and others spoke in favor of the recommended site, which would be near Sandifur Parkway north of Interstate 182.

"I think having it in Pasco will get it a lot of recognition in Olympia and other places," said Nallely Centeno, a Delta High senior and student representative on Pasco's board.

Delta High has about 340 students and will graduate its first senior class this spring. The school currently leases buildings from Columbia Basin College in Richland, as well as using classrooms in a neighboring building.

The districts and the foundation have worked since summer to develop a plan to ask the Legislature to provide most of the roughly $18 million needed to build a new facility. Those efforts stalled this fall when the Richland School Board raised concerns about what its financial obligation would be if money from the state and donors fell short.

District officials managed to regroup and draft a new proposal, absolving Richland of any financial liability for the school's construction. But that also gave Pasco and Kennewick more of a say in the school's construction and location.

Hill said the three superintendents and members of the foundation's board reviewed and evaluated proposed sites, most of them in Kennewick and Pasco.

"Once designated as host district in the resolution, Pasco School District will immediately move forward with all due speed to acquire all the necessary permitting and funding for the project in cooperation with Kennewick and Richland school districts," according to district documents.

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