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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Bonds for Mead, WV passing

Most Spokane-area voters seemed willing Tuesday to open up their pocketbooks to support school construction projects.

Although a nearly $8 million measure proposed by the Nine Mile Falls School District seemed headed for failure, measures proposed by the West Valley and Mead school districts appear to have earned more than enough support to pass.

“We’re just extremely pleased,” said Mead Superintendent Steven Enoch. “We’re delighted that the community once again said they support public schools.”

Unofficial results show 62 percent voted in favor of the Mead School District’s $37.7 million construction bond, and 63 percent supported the $35 million West Valley measure.

“I’m just absolutely in awe of this community,” said Dave Smith, superintendent at West Valley. “They have such a tremendous desire to provide for their young people.”

About 58 percent of the votes were cast in favor of the Nine Mile Falls measure. State law requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass school tax measures.

“We’re obviously disappointed,” said Nine Mile Superintendent Michael Green. “We probably won’t be able to close that gap.”All precinct votes have been counted and the election will be certified on May 28, after the remaining absentee votes are tallied, according to the Spokane County elections office. All three school districts collected enough votes to validate their elections.

The Mead School District will use the bulk of the bond proceeds to build a new elementary school and to replace the current Mead Middle School with a new building.

Officials say the district’s seven elementary schools are overcrowded and the middle school, which was built in the 1920s, has reached the end of its useful life.

“The next step for us is to put together a timeline for the construction projects,” Enoch said. “We’ll select an architectural firm over the summer.”

Sites for the new buildings have not yet been chosen, Enoch said, but the elementary school could be located in one of two areas experiencing rapid growth — near Highway 395 and Hatch Road or on the Five Mile Prairie.

“Wherever it gets situated, the elementary school boundaries will have to be redrawn,” Enoch said. “They’re all very, very full already.”

The Mead School District will spend the rest of the funds on restoring the old Five Mile Schoolhouse to make room for the district’s homeschooling program, maintaining and updating the district’s technological infrastructure and taking care of structural, heating and air conditioning projects at other schools.

A new multipurpose room will be built at Northwood Middle School and parking and traffic flow at Colbert Elementary School will be improved.

With the $35 million approved by taxpayers, the West Valley School District plans to completely renovate its high school, add classrooms and new gymnasiums to its four elementary schools and undertake maintenance projects at its two middle schools.

Many of the hallways and classrooms in the 43-year-old high school will be torn down to their structural shells and rebuilt. The cafeteria and library will be expanded and music practice rooms, fitness facilities, a gym and a dance studio will also be built.

Kitchens in the district’s four elementary schools will be modernized and the gymnasiums in use today will be transformed into cafeterias.

Smith said the community will be invited to review all the plans as they are finalized.

“We are going to do everything we have to do to make sure every buck is spent appropriately,” he said.The Nine Mile Falls District had planned to remodel both of its elementary schools, adding new classrooms and retiring portable classrooms that have been in use for 24 years.

Bond proceeds would have also provided funds to expand and upgrade science classrooms at Lakeside High School.

The district failed to pass a similar measure in March, missing the 60 percent supermajority required by just 24 votes. Green said the district has no plans to bring another measure before the voters.

“We have facilities needs to provide kids adequate classrooms and unfortunately those will continue to go unmet.”

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