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Sunnyside School Board reviewing facilities study

Sunnyside School Board officials are currently mulling a study and survey regarding organization and facilities within the district, a task undertaken by Dick Loofburrow of Loofburrow Architects.

According to Loofburrow's report, the main purpose of the study was to review student population growth trends and what would be in the district's best interest in terms of facilities.

The report noted that in the past, a plan to be a K-9 and grades 10-12 district did not work out. The problem was that by having a ninth grade "academy," academic and discipline problems arose.

The decision was made to integrate the ninth grade students back into the high school.

The next challenge is square footage, or space, at the high school to serve the students.

The district has decided to use Sun Valley Elementary School as an all kindergarten school. The first phase of construction is complete, but there are two phases remaining: the construction of a multi-purpose room, cafeteria and gymnasium.

According to Loofburrow's report, if the board decides to complete the second and third phases at Sun Valley, local funds will have to be used.

Long range goals for the school board to consider that resulted from the study include modernizing the high school and adding more square footage. This hasn't been done in 20 years.

Other goals to consider are to complete phases two and three at Sun Valley, add a multi-purpose room at Pioneer Elementary School, modernize Washington Elementary School and to monitor future student population growth trends.

School district community relations coordinator Curtis Campbell said, "The board is basically researching the options presented to them in the study. They are looking at future enrollment projections to determine what the district needs to do to accommodate an ever-growing student population."

Campbell noted that there are 197 more children enrolled in the district this year than last.

Also being considered by the board is funding sources.

"They are considering the amount of money that will be matched by the state. Right now, we are in a position to receive substantial matching funds from the state, but it's possible the methods the state uses to determine funding could change in the future, which would result in less state funding."

The board will now consider what course of action the district will take in future building projects, said Curtis, adding that a bond will be crucial in addressing the district's building needs.

"...Without passing the bond, the district will not be eligible for any matching funds from the state and there will be no expansion or modernization of any of the buildings. We would essentially stay where we're at right now."

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