Central Valley School District wants to build a high school and a middle school and plans to ask voters to approve a $130 million bond for that purpose.
Earlier this month, the Central Valley school board voted unanimously for the bond, which would also be used to renovate and expand Horizon Middle School.
The district’s third comprehensive high school would be built on land Central Valley has owned for more than 30 years at 16th Avenue and Henry Road, in the Saltese area. The new middle school would be built at Telido Station, just north east of the HUB Sports Center in Liberty Lake.
District Spokeswoman Marla Nunberg said the school board still has to pass a resolution to put the bond on the ballot, but this is the fist step.
“We want to be very transparent about what we are doing,” Nunberg said.
It can be a little difficult to keep track of all the construction and remodeling going on in the Central Valley School District, which passed a $121.9 million construction bond in 2015 – the first bond approved by voters in 17 years.
That bond allowed the district to turn the former Yoke’s supermarket at 16 N. Progress Road into the shared home of the district’s alternative high school and early learning center.
It also paied for remodeling of Chester Elementary School, Greenacres Elementary School, Sunrise Elementary School, Opportunity Elementary School and Evergreen Middle School as well as for a new building for Liberty Creek Elementary School in Liberty Lake.
Ponderosa Elementary School was also scheduled to be remodeled but it will be rebuilt instead, Nunberg said, because it would cost less and be more practical.
But that’s not all.
Over the summer, the district received a $20.8 million class-size reduction grant from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, making it possible to completely remodel North Pines Middle School and build a new elementary school at Mission Avenue and Long Street.
Nunberg said Central Valley wouldn’t have been able to apply for that grant if the bigger bond hadn’t already passed.
“That grant made it possible for us to add two schools that were not in the original bond package,” Nunberg said. “It put us in a much better position than many other school districts.”
By 2017 the district will be in compliance with state class-size reductions mandated by the 2012 McCleary Supreme Court decision, which has sent many districts scrambling for classrooms. That target is 17 students per classroom from kindergarten through third grade.
The district’s capital facilities co-chair Brian Singer told the school board that Central Valley School District had adjusted its planning and balanced limited funds to affect the most students.
“We are especially excited about the new comprehensive high school,” Nunberg said.
The land bought in 1980 had always been intended for a third comprehensive high school, according to a news release. The new school would be about the same size as University and Central Valley high schools. The district also operates an alternative high school, Mica Peak.
Nunberg said Horizon Middle School would be remodeled but fit in the same footprint, except for a new gymnasium.
“It’s not laid out very well,” Nunberg said of the school at 3915 S. Pines Road, near University High and Chester Elementary. “The remodel will bring the school up to current standards and allow for 600 students at the max.” About 490 students attend Horizon today.
The new middle school near the HUB will be built for 450 students, but could be expanded to 600, Nunberg said.
“We are not overbuilding, we are planning for the future,” Nunberg said.
The new bond would not increase the property tax rate, Nunberg said, because some of the 2015 bond will be paid off at the same time.
“By keeping the rate the same, we would free up some money,” Nunberg said.
Campaigning for the bond is expected to begin in late 2017 and it would be on the ballot in 2018.
“I am excited about the future of our district,” Superintendent Ben Small said in the news release. “As we continue to grow, this bond will put us in a strong position to meet the needs of our students. We are pleased to to accomplish that without a tax increase.”
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