An elementary school, pre-kindergarten center or even alternative school New Horizons High School could someday be located at a roughly 9-acre piece of property recently purchased by the Pasco School District.
The school board approved Tuesday night the purchase of two parcels, called the Hultberg and Shriners properties, bounded by Salt Lake Street, Utah Avenue and Superior Street in east Pasco. The district will pay about $625,000 total for the properties.
The district’s facilities task force recommended the purchase. Use of the properties would also allow the district to use another small parcel it already owns on the other side of Utah Avenue as a parking lot for a future facility.
Randy Nunamaker, the district’s executive director of operations, told the board it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find property for future schools within Pasco’s urban growth boundary that meets requirements for space and other needs.
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Nunamaker said it is the appropriate size for an elementary school, which typically require about 10 acres. The district is also moving toward building a pre-kindergarten center, using its own capital funds while seeking some from the state to help with the project.
New Horizons High School, which the district is proposing to move from its current location on the grounds of Columbia Basin College to another leased building on the community college campus, could be located there in a new facility, Nunamaker said.
But what the property could be used for wasn’t determined as part of the purchase agreement — rather, the property will go into the district’s inventory of land holdings, giving it flexibility when determining where to site future schools.
“There is a lot of growth in east Pasco, so there’s going to be a need,” said board member Aaron Richardson.
The board is launching a series of community forums to give board members more opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with the public on designated issues and initiatives in the district.
This month’s forums — 6:30 p.m. Jan. 14 at Virgie Robinson Elementary School and Jan. 19 at Mark Twain Elementary School — will focus on the district’s pre-kindergarten programs.
Board President Scott Lehrman said forums in February have yet to be scheduled, but will likely focus on New Horizons High School.