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School board advances plans to build new school

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This former corn field will soon be the site of a new Sunnyside School District middle school and playground, now that the Sunnyside voters have approved an $11 million bond. Sunnyside School District Facilities Director Braven Bendzak (L) and Julie Kaplicky, the district's information director, survey the area where the new building is expected to be constructed in 2005.

The voters have given their approval, the land has been purchased and a plan has been formed for constructing a new middle school in north Sunnyside to ease the growing public school population.

With that work completed, the Sunnyside School Board met Tuesday morning to approve a resolution to seek new school construction project approval from the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The Sunnyside School Board also approved an application seeking low interest rates from the state, as the district moves forward with the sale of $11 million in bonds later this year.

"We are moving ahead as quickly as possible to ensure we can get the lowest interest rates possible for our bonds," explained Dave Plesha, Sunnyside School District executive director of finance.

Plesha said the bond sale, which will be handled by John Gores of Seattle-Northwest Securities Corp., will move ahead once the state gives it approval for the project.

Tuesday's special board meeting was the first step towards the completion of a new middle school on a portion of the 57 acres of district land located along Washout Road, just to the north of Sunnyside Christian High School.

With the state's approval of the construction project, as well as its assurance of low interest rates for the bonds, the district will be on the road to building the new school as early as mid-2005, Plesha said.

"Once the state is assured we have the money to begin construction, it will match our efforts, " he said.

The district hopes to transform the $11 million bond, passed by Sunnyside voters with a 62.97 percent approval rating, into $40 million for new projects, Plesha explained.

Sunnyside School District administrators encouraged the board to approve the state applications as quickly as possible based on the current low interest rates.

"This is a presidential election year and while the interest rates are low now, that could change," Plesha explained.

Moving quickly now through the preliminary processes may also ensure the district will be able to get low bids next year when the construction is scheduled to begin.

Plesha said the district may be able to open bids on the district's new middle school by February 2005.

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