Photo by John Fannin
Prosser High School, designed for 430 students, now has about twice that many.
As of Wednesday, November 9, 2016
PROSSER Voters will get their say in February on the School District’s proposed $69.3 million construction bond measure.
The School Board approved the bond measure last night during a special meeting.
It will formally ratify it Nov. 8.
The plan calls for building a new, 150,000-square-foot high school at a new site near Art Fiker Stadium.
It would also remodel all three elementary schools, adding a combined 10,000 square feet.
Total project cost is $108 million, with state funds covering the remaining $38.7 million.
Superintendent Ray Tolcacher said the decision to pursue all four projects resulted from a community survey.
“I think people are realizing the need to take care of these schools,” he said after the meeting. “They’re seeing we can’t continue as we are and meet technological and security requirements for students.”
The high school is the biggest need, he said.
It was built in the 1930s to house 430 students, Principal Kevin Lusk said. Today, the school has 865 students.
Nine portable classrooms and a former church building are used to help with the overflow.
There is only enough capacity to feed about a third of the students attending the high school, Lusk said.
“The rest either bring a lunch or eat off campus,” he said.
The district has not built a new building in 56 years and the last school remodel was about 30 years ago.
The survey found 80 percent of community respondents favored a new high school. That’s important if the district wants to reach the 60 percent needed for bond approval.
If voters approve the plan, the current high school building would house district office staff, which is now scattered at multiple locations in town.