Sunnyside schools eye construction

Enrollment to reach 2,000 at high school

— They’re not sure how or when it will happen, but School District officials believe growing room is needed at Sunnyside High School.

“The enrollment pocket is a lot larger than the current group in the high school,” Supt. Kevin McKay told the School Board last night. “The high school is at capacity.”

The school now averages 400 for each of its four classes, freshmen through seniors.

“In three to five years we’ll be up to 500 per class,” he said of high school projections based on current elementary school enrollment.

And expanding the middle schools is out of the question.

“The middle schools do not qualify for state construction assistance,” McKay said.

Last night’s goal, he said, was to be transparent about the discussion for future school construction.

He pledged the district will seek input in exploring options for possible high school expansion.

And the district has issues with its outdoor athletic facilities, he said. Those, too are part of the review for future facility needs.

The condition of some of the high school’s existing facilities is “... more glaring when there’s a new softball complex,” McKay said.

In response, board member Sandra Linde said she supports the idea of “... going forward with construction and bonds for our kids. It’s exciting.”

There has been support this year in the Lower Yakima Valley for school bond measures.

Grandview, Prosser and Zillah voters all approved bonds in February for new construction.

Sunnyside’s history with voter-approved funds for construction is mixed.

Voters rejected a six-year, $6.9 million levy for athletic facilities in November 2014.

However, a $10 million bond measure in February 2014 was approved, leading to a new Washington Elementary School and other improvements..


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