Washington School District officials were met Friday morning to discuss potential space constraints at three school sites as early as next year.
Even if the district’s proposed $65 million bond issue and 46-cent property tax increase passes in April, the district will still have space issues to contend with until new buildings could be constructed, said Superintendent Dr. Lori VanLeer.
“Right now we’re worried about next year at Washington West Elementary, Fifth Street Elementary and Washington Middle School,” she said. “We need to discuss our options now so we’re prepared.”
VanLeer planned to meet with administrators at those buildings, the special education director and the buildings and grounds director to analyze where space might be available for some programs and the possibility of leasing more modular trailers similar to the ones being used now for early childhoods program on the Washington West campus.
“If we decide we might need more modulars we need to talk about when to go out for bids, where to place them and what kind of site preparation would be required,” she said.
Some of the options under consideration are moving the preschool classes or the gifted classes at Washington West into modulars or some other building. Space needs for the middle school special education program also need to be addressed, VanLeer said.
“Nothing has been decided and we’re just beginning to look at this, but it does look like we will need additional classroom space next year,” she said. “I want to start the discussions now so I can talk to the school board about the issues at the Jan. 25 meeting.”
The district plans to build new facilities, including a new sixth- through the eighth-grade middle school and K-5 elementary school, if the ballot initiative passes. Plans also call for construction of an early childhood center to house Parents as Teachers, in-town preschools and the early childhood special education program.
Other improvements include converting the current middle school into a ninth-grade center and renovations to the main high school, and converting the Technology and Learning Center building into an alternative education center for students not succeeding at the high school. Technology improvements, including new labs, also are planned districtwide.