Committee presents two options for improving outdoor athletic and activity facilities; school board requests community outreach and engagement
Tuesday night representatives from the twenty-member independent Outdoor Athletic and Activity Facilities Committee wrapped up months of research and planning by presenting the school board two options for addressing the district’s aging and inadequate outdoor facilities. Both options meet the committee’s charge of bringing Walla Walla Public Schools middle and high school outdoor athletic and activity facilities up to comparable league standards.
According to the Committee’s executive summary: “There has not been a more important time in our district’s history that we ensure our children are engaged, active and connected with each other. As a community, we have stepped up with the 2018 bond improvements and fully met the needs of students who find their passion with music, theater, arts, and sciences. Now is the time to address the need of over 1,000 of our children whose connection, character development and pride is honed on the field, on the court, on the track, on the course and on the pitch.” -- Outdoor Athletic and Activity Facilities Committee.
“This comprehensive review was the result of months of investigation, analysis and deliberation on the part of over 20 community members, parents and alumni,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “In line with their charge, they provided pragmatic solutions that prioritized facilities that lag furthest behind every school in our league and provided two low-cost solutions for the School Board to consider.”
Comparable Plan Option
This option relies on a one-time, 38 cent short-term capital levy (6 year). This option addresses the core facility requirements that are furthest behind league standards and priority needs identified by coaches, parents and athletes. The Comparable Plan Option provides pragmatic solutions and approaches to improvements and also capitalizes on local/state grants and other revenue.
• Construct an adequate multi-purpose complex that complements the current Klicker track that can accommodate soccer, football, marching band, cheer/dance, lacrosse, PE, youth sports, permit year-around field utilization and be sufficient to host playoff competition and events for regional schools
• Consistent with every school in our league, install artificial turf playing surfaces to maximize field utilization, participation and post season play
• Replace failing 60-year-old original tennis courts at WaHi and relocate the new tennis/pickle ball courts to Murr Sports Park for improved community access
• Repair the 43-year-old Garrison tennis courts (Chubb Courts) and resurface the 20-year-old track
• Install an all-weather track at Pioneer for athlete, school and community access
• Consistent with all league schools, install low spill/low glare outdoor lighting for early evening play, in order to minimize instructional loss and maximize family participation for baseball and softball players
• Provide adequate access to restrooms and locker rooms for high school athletes
• Construct a JROTC “raider course” for student, first responder and community use
• Ensure facility improvements support hosting of regional and community events for local economic impact
Total Cost: $15.2M
Comprehensive Plan Option
This option relies on a one-time, 49 cent short-term capital levy (6 year). Comprehensive plan addresses all of the core components in the Comparable plan, in addition to providing:
• 800 additional seating capacity in the multi-sport complex (from 2,200 to 3,000 seats on home side)
• A larger announcers/press box (12X50) vs (8x24) with elevator access
• A permanent structure under the bleachers for equipment storage, sports medicine /trainer room and gear room
• Low spill/low glare field lights on the Junior Varsity multi-sport field
• Replaces 55-year-old west tennis courts at Garrison Middle School (Cobain Courts)
Total Cost: $19.4M
Tuesday night, the committee also recommended the administration and School Board perform outreach and engagement to determine which of the two improvement options, Comparable Plan Option or Comprehensive Plan Option, most resonates with stakeholder's priorities when taking into account project scope and cost.
“Based on stakeholder feedback, they recommend the district fund one of the two plans through a lower-cost, short-term capital levy,” said Superintendent Dr. Wade Smith. “Capital levies are a common tool utilized by many school districts across the state, in conjunction with grants and other funding streams. The committee proposed placing the capital levy on the February 2024 ballot to accompany the district’s Educational Programs & Operations replacement levy.”
No action was taken at Tuesday’s school board meeting. Board members requested Superintendent Smith and staff conduct stakeholder outreach, engagement and surveying over the next three months to determine which recommendation, the Comparable or Comprehensive, best meets the community's priorities for improvements.
For more information on the Committee’s recommendation, including more details on the plan options, architectural renderings, site maps and cost breakdowns, visit: https://www.wwps.org/oaafc