Newly renovated high school already bulging at the seams

Despite a $30 million-plus renovation and expansion project currently underway at Sunnyside High School, there isn't enough space to accommodate the student population.

Gary Wetch's firm, Loofburrow, Wetch Architects, has been working on the current high school modernization project and has completed a study of the school district buildings.

The elementary and middle schools have sufficient space to accommodate student populations in grades K-8, but the high school population is not sufficiently housed, according to the study.

Because of this, Wetch said the school district has options available to it.

He proposes expanding the newly constructed two-story building at the high school.

Wetch said the state has available funding to assist the school district with such a project.

"Maximizing state match funding gives the district the potential to add square footage to the building," said Wetch.

He presented three potential floor plans for the school board's consideration last night, stating the first option of adding just eight classrooms would be a $2.3 million project of which the state would provide $2 million.

However, a better option would be to add more than 12,600 square feet (12 classrooms) to the two-story structure.

That project, said Wetch, could be completed for $3.5 million, of which the district would only need to match approximately $800,000.

The final option would provide the school with 16 additional classrooms and another stairwell in the two-story building. Wetch said the project could be completed for an estimated $4.5 million, but the state would only provide the same $2.7 million as it would for the 12 classroom option.

"We believe the second option would be the best build-out," said Wetch.

He told the school board the district could submit an application for funding in the fall of this year and the construction could commence during the summer of 2013.

Sunnyside School Board Director Miguel Puente asked if the project would accommodate students currently attending classes in modular classrooms and the 700 building.

SHS administrators, including principal-to-be Ryan Maxwell said they believe the build-out would be a permanent solution to current classroom issues, but would need to "...take a better look at the potential."

Wetch said, "Because you continue to grow, we talked about the fact that the portables are supposed to go away."

He said the school district will need to submit an extension request to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction for continued use of the portables until construction can be completed.

Sunnyside School District Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole said there have been inquiries regarding the capacity at Sunnyside High School. He said some believed the expansions already made would be sufficient for the population, however the population rate of growth has been such that the portables have not been as temporary as the district intended.

The school board did not make a decision regarding the expansion of the two-story building at SHS, but will consider doing so at a future date.


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