Parents, community members, employees and students favorably supported the initial needs list and proposed draft solutions identified in a recent public survey developed by the Community Facilities Task Force. Based on staff and community survey engagements last spring, in addition to comprehensive facility analysis performed, the Community Facilities Task Force is recommending practical renovations of Walla Walla High School, Lincoln High School, and Pioneer Middle School. Other facility needs across the district like large-scale roofing replacements, heating and cooling system upgrades and life safety improvements have also been identified as priority projects. This latest survey tested the group’s initial pragmatic and cost-effective solutions.
A total of 569 people responded to the survey which is part of the community engagement phase of a deliberate two-year process to develop a Long-range Facilities Improvement Plan. Information gathered from this survey will help shape preliminary bond package options the Community Facilities Task Force will present to the school board in December. The school board will then seek further community input on these potential bond packages following winter break before making a final decision in May for a November 2018 bond proposal.
For the past 13 months, the eighteen-member Community Facilities Task Force has completed several studies and initiated extensive research. The district aims to preserve its historic buildings and infrastructure while renovating them to meet current educational needs. Walla Walla voters approved two bonds in the 1980's, three in the 90's and one in the last 18 years. As a result, all existing bond debt will be paid off in December 2018. Any facility improvement projects being proposed in November 2018 are likely to be a replacement of current rates, or a slight increase depending on community input, maintaining one of the lowest school bond rates in the region. The district is also in a position to receive unprecedented state match funding on future facility improvements and is only looking at options which allocate 100% of the state match dollars to the identified projects.