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School district eyes new building plans

The Sunnyside School Board had a first look last night at a draft of plans for a new elementary school to open in 2008.

Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole displayed design schemes showing how the building will likely be built in two phases on 20 acres just north of Sierra Vista Middle School.

The district has enough funding from the state to build an elementary school that measures 42,000 square feet, although the district would like to build the school out at 73,000 square feet.

The answer, Cole noted, is to take a page from Sierra Vista's construction progress in building the 42,000 square feet as part of an initial phase, then adding on the additional square footage after the state updates the district's square footage allotment next October.

Cole also noted that a committee is meeting to decide a name for the new school, which is expected to house 500 students in grades kindergarten through fifth.

The new elementary school discussion led to talk of future construction plans, including modernizing Washington Elementary and the high school.

Washington is next up after the new school building wraps up work in fall of 2008.

Cole said the district will need to come up with a plan to find a building-perhaps using the new school-for the Washington students while their school is closed for a year due to construction.

The district is also considering reshuffling students at a number of schools in the wake of new building improvements and growing enrollment.

Among the options are having sophomores through seniors attend high school and dedicating Harrison Middle School for freshmen students only.

Another possibility includes having middle school students, those in sixth through eighth grades, attend Chief Kamiakin.

All of the options are long range in nature and are still pending review by an architect before the school board receives them for a final decision.

Cole said the architect's research should be completed in December, with the results shared during the January school board meeting.

"All options are on the table at this point," he said.

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