RICHLAND -- The Richland, Pasco and Kennewick school districts are taking steps to build a permanent home for Delta High School within two years.
Next week, the Pasco and Richland school boards are expected to review documents for a new facility in Richland on land already being used by the school as well as establishing cooperative use of the facility, according to meeting agendas released Friday.
The Kennewick School Board has approved to build the facility in Richland, but it must sign the agreement for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics school.
Estimated construction costs run as high as $20 million, but the districts hope to rely on state funding for 90 percent of the cost. Otherwise, school officials said they must consider other options.
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"We've got several things we've got to solve," said Pasco Superintendent Saundra Hill.
Delta High is a school operated cooperatively by the three districts. It has about 400 students, and its first senior class is set to graduate in May.
Columbia Basin College leases buildings in downtown Richland to Delta School. The location is convenient, but more classroom space is needed, school officials said.
Richland Superintendent Jim Busey said the original plan for Delta High was to have private partners and the Washington STEM Foundation collaborate to build a new school. The recent recession hindered those efforts, he said.
"They've tried to do a great job, but we and the other districts have looked at other options," Busey said.
State law allows the districts to form a cooperative agreement to build and finance the school while asking the state to provide up to 90 percent of the costs. The foundation would fill any funding gaps between the state contribution and the cost of the project, the Tri-City superintendents said.
However, there's no law to guarantee the state will provide a full match. The agreements between the districts are explicit in saying that the project can move forward with less than a full match from the state, as long as there is an unanimous approval of among the districts.
And there's also the deadline from CBC. Delta High is sharing some classroom space with CBC, but officials at the Pasco college have informed the school districts that it will need that space back for its own students within two years.