School boards approve future home for Delta High

By Ty Beaver, Tri-City HeraldFebruary 15, 2013 

The Richland and Kennewick school boards have signed off on a new agreement with the Pasco School District, designating a site on Road 100 as the future home of Delta High School.

Board members in Kennewick, Pasco and Richland approved the new agreement at their regular meetings this week.

With Pasco now the soon-to-be home district for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, high school, district officials can dedicate more time to getting money from the state to pay for construction of the new school.

"We plan on breaking ground as soon as we have funding," said Pasco Assistant Superintendent John Morgan. "It's on the fast track."

Delta High, which has 340 students from all three districts and will graduate its first senior class this spring, leases buildings from Columbia Basin College on Northgate Avenue in Richland. School officials and other educators have said the space limits the school's growth and offerings.

The districts and the Washington State STEM Education Foundation are lobbying the Legislature to provide the bulk of the estimated $18 million needed for construction. Pasco submitted documents Thursday outlining the project and its merits as part of the ongoing process for seeking financing.

"I know (state lawmakers) have been extremely complementary and spoken highly of Delta High," Morgan said.

The foundation also is seeking private donations, with Bechtel National giving $250,000 recently.

The new 6.4-acre site for the school was selected by the superintendents of the three districts as well as members of the foundation. Pasco district officials are currently negotiating to buy it, Morgan said.

Kennewick and Pasco will potentially shoulder a small portion of the costs, specifically in designing the school. Richland has no financial liability, according to the cooperative agreement, but ceded its say over the school's location and construction as a result.

Morgan said no money from Pasco's recently approved $46.8 million bond will go toward Delta High. The bond is being used to build two new elementary schools and an early learning center, as well as pay for some other projects.

-- Ty Beaver: 509-582-1402; tbeaver@tricityherald.com; Twitter: @_tybeaver

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