Pasco High School students are going to have new classrooms to accompany an increase in the number of science classes required to graduate.
The $6 million project started in June and includes 11,000 square feet of new construction and 15,000 square feet of remodeling. The construction is expected to be finished by August 2017.
The project is part of a $46.8 million bond voters passed in 2013. Money from the bond paid to construct three elementary schools, and is slated to help pay to relocate New Horizons High School.
The new construction at Pasco High School includes adding five science classrooms and a library. The renovation includes converting the existing library into roughly five general needs classrooms, said Randy Nunamaker, the district’s executive director of operations.
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“The big addition is the five science classrooms,” he said. “They’ll help with the new science requirements.”
State officials require students who started the ninth grade last year to take three science classes. Two of the classes need to be lab sciences, said Erich Bolz, the district’s assistant superintendent of instructional services. The requirements increased from two science classes, with one of them being a laboratory science.
The state Board of Education defines laboratory science as “any instruction that provides opportunities for students to interact directly with the material world or with data drawn from the material world.”
The state Legislature approved a change in the requirements in 2014 as part of a goal to prepare students for college and university education.
Pasco High was constructed in 1952. Additions to the building were made in 1958, 1969, 1971 and 1995. It has 86 regular classrooms and 25 portable classrooms.
Its 2,012 students are attending classes at the school while construction is occurring.
“We had to relocate some classrooms to accommodate the construction,” Nunamaker said. “The administrative staff have been excellent.”
The remodeling includes adding security to the foyer and a conference room in the administration area.
The project allows the district to create a new look to the building, Nunamaker said.
“The kids get excited,” he said.
Design work has begun for the new CH2M Hill building on the Columbia Basin College campus. The building will be the new location of the New Horizons High School in fall 2017.
The building is the final item included with the 2013 bond.