Zillah School District
Proposed improvements at Zillah High School include a new entrance area and technological upgrades.
As of Thursday, December 8, 2016
ZILLAH Residents within the School District’s boundaries will be asked to consider a $14.9 million bond for high school improvements.
The proposal will appear on the Feb. 14 ballot.
“We’re expecting to get about $8 million in state matching funds, so the scope of the project is $23 million,” Superintendent Doug Burge said.
The high school is more than 40 years old and updates are needed for its enrollment of 430 students.
“The big focus is additional classroom space,” Burge said. “We’re looking at security, connecting the buildings and making it a safe and secure environment.”
The schools consists of four “pods,” he said.
“We’ll add anywhere from six to nine classrooms, with some extended learning space,” Burge said. “We’ll expand our capacity in our cafeteria.”
The commons area will be expanded and upgrades to the high school’s stadium and track are included in the package, he said.
“It’s in good shape, but it’s our oldest building in the district and it’s an inefficient building,” Burge said. “I just really believe there’s a lot of opportunity here. We know what the needs are, we’re pretty much at capacity. We believe we can enhance our students’ work at the high school.”
The proposal also calls for a new heating and air conditioning system at the high school, he said.
The district decided to modernize the existing high school instead of building a new one because of the price tag, he said.
“It’s just too cost prohibitive,” Burge said. “We’re still paying debt on our elementary school.”
It is the second bond proposal in two years for the district. Last year it initially sought a bond for middle school improvements, but pulled it from the ballot when the state’s matching fund estimate was inaccurate.
“We were given some misinformation,” Burge said.
He said the School Board decided to move forward with the bond request because of the public’s involvement in local schools.
“We have a community that’s supported our schools for many, many years,” Burge said.
Zillah is one of three Lower Yakima Valley School Districts that will seek a school bond in February for high school-related construction.
Prosser and Grandview both will look for voter approval to build new high schools. Grandview will build its proposed school on the existing high school site. Prosser will build its proposed school at a different site, near the football field.