Pasco schools might be crowded -- but they are well maintained, according to a report presented to the school board Tuesday.
The report -- a snapshot that covers everything from peeling paint to proper functioning of heating systems -- satisfies a requirement of the state's new Asset Preservation Program.
Hearing such a report will become an annual ritual in Pasco and every other district that has received state money to build schools in the past 16 years.
Any school built or modernized with state matching money since 1995 must be inspected annually by contractors and the results reported to the respective school boards. Every six years, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Schools will send out a certified inspector to check on the districts' findings.
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The new program ties proper maintenance to future availability of state dollars, because some districts had been found to let their old schools dilapidate so they could build new ones with state money, said board member John Hergert, who has been a member of the OSPI facilities task force.
In Pasco, four schools are affected by the new rule -- Pasco and Chiawana high schools, and Emerson and Robert Frost elementary schools, said Randy Nunamaker, the district's director of support services.
A building starts out with 100 points when it's built and every year points are subtracted, no matter how well-kept it is. For the 58-year-old Pasco High School, that means its expected score based on age alone is about 42 points.
It scored 56 in the recent inspection by a contractor. The other three also scored above their age -- with nearly 2-year-old Chiawana still getting the full 100 points.
And while contractors were at it, the district charged them to score all of its schools.
"We wanted to be ahead of the game," Nunamaker said.
The results were very good -- every Pasco school is in much better shape than it should be for its age, with some scoring 20 points better than what the state would find appropriate.
Also discussed Tuesday:
-- The district is ready to start building a new elementary school if voters pass the bond April 26. The plans for the first of the three new schools are in the permitting stage, and the project is ready to go to bid this summer, said Kim Marsh, director of capital projects.
The design is for a 72,000 square-foot school, which is 30,000 square feet larger than Longfellow Elementary. Pasco has a patented design that it uses with slight variations for all new schools. Longfellow was the first built from the template.
The school would feature classrooms that can be turned into computer labs with little effort when it's time for state tests, to save space, Marsh said. It would also would be the first "green" school in Pasco, he said.
-- The middle school that would be finished by 2014 if the bond passes would be 163,000 square feet and house 1,250 students. It's still in an earlier design stage, Marsh said.
-- The district will add 10 more portables -- 20 classrooms -- this summer. That will bring the total square footage of portable classroom space to 153,000, Marsh said.