Another expansion at Sunnyside High OK'd


Architect Gary Wetch (left) explains plans designed to create additional space at Sunnyside High School while Principal Ryan Maxwell looks on.

With the recent modernization project nearly complete at Sunnyside High School, and with that project coming in under budget, the Sunnyside School District qualifies for additional funding that will further expand the new two-story building at SHS.

That's according to Gary Wetch of Loofburrow Wetch Architects.

Last night he told the Sunnyside School Board the state took back $6 million of unused money upon the completion of the recent modernization project. The school district, however, has retained its full funding that resulted in the passage of a bond measure in 2010.

That means the school district has the $600,000 needed for its share of further expanding the high school.

Wetch had two designs prepared for the school board's consideration, noting that there is a tight schedule for securing equalization funds that will be available in July. He said if the school board waits to make a decision, the expansion would not qualify under the current bond.

With enrollment numbers on the rise, he said the school's new two-story building could be expanded by 12 classrooms (13,400 sq. ft.) and an additional 6,840 sq. ft. multi-purpose building could be added to the southeast corner of the gymnasium building at the high school.

The school board also has the option of utilizing three classroom spaces as a child care facility.

The multi-purpose space, said Wetch, would be constructed with several activities in mind. He said the ventilation and other design features would be sufficient for use as a wrestling room. But, the space would also serve the dance team and other activities.

SHS Principal Ryan Maxwell said the space could be used for advisory period during school hours.

Wetch said he also included in the design an option for restrooms on the corner of the addition closest to the baseball fields. He said there has been mention of a lack of restroom facilities for that sport and anyone using the fields.

The day care facility, if the school board opted to use three classroom spaces for such a facility, would accommodate students with children. It would be designed with many of the features included at Yakima's Stanton Academy.

The second option Wetch provided for the school board members was a 22,000 foot expansion to SHS's two-story building. He said 16 classrooms would fit into the expansion and the option of utilizing classroom space for a child care facility would still be a consideration.

Maxwell told the school board members he prefers the first option because "'s a win-win."

He said the school doesn't currently have space for the dance team or aerobics. He said the current wrestling room is inadequate and there aren't restrooms for the baseball fields.

School Board Director Michelle Perry asked if enrollment at SHS would be positively impacted if a child care facility was available to the students who are parents.

Maxwell told the board that he doesn't know the exact number of students who have dropped out of school because they have become parents. However, he said there haven't been many because the school offers "comprehensive programs for teen parents."

Wetch said he has to prepare a presentation for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and his deadline is in January.

The school board members decided it could not wait until its December meeting to make a decision and the general consensus was that the first option presented best meets the needs of the students at SHS.

The Sunnyside School Board voted 5-0 in favor of the design that included a new multi-purpose room and 12 classroom spaces.


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