Richland is buying land for a third high school.
The school board approved spending $3.89 million on Tuesday night to buy 70 acres of land near the intersection of Keene Road and Belmont Boulevard.
The land is next to the site of the fourth middle school.
The district is purchasing the land from West Richland-based 7HA Family. The purchase is expected to be finished in November.
The land is within West Richland’s Urban Growth Area, allowing the district to build a new school.
The land was surveyed and agreements were reached for water rights and to run utilities to the land, according to district officials.
School board President Rick Jansons said district officials try to work as far into the future as they can so they can be prepared for an increase of students in the district.
Jansons and Superintendent Rick Schulte said the district plans to ask voters to approve a bond for a new high school in 2021.
The district depends on receiving state funds to help build a new school. The money can account for as much as 45 percent of the cost, the superintendent said. The state may contribute $45 million or more for a new high school.
The building needs to be almost full of students upon opening to qualify for the highest amount of matching funds from the state, Jansons said.
Schulte projected that the district would receive the maximum amount of state money between 2022-25.
“This is an exciting day,” he stated. “We’ve secured land for a high school, which will serve the growing areas of south and West Richland. The location next to the middle school will create collaboration opportunities between the two faculties.”
As the district waits for bond approval and construction, the district plans to install modular buildings at Richland and Hanford high schools. The project would include 12 new classrooms, interior halls and restrooms, the superintendent said. The buildings are expected to open in September 2017.
Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402