The University Place School Board will be asking voters for $86 million to replace Curtis Junior High School, University Place Primary School and the Curtis High School gymnasium. The money would also pay for improvments to the pool, heating and air conditioning repairs or replacements in several buildings and improvements to the high school theater. The total cost for all the projects the school district is proposing is $107 million, but the district expects to get about $21 million in grant funds from the state.
The school board voted to put the measure on the Feb. 7, 2006 ballot. The board wil also be asking voters to replace the existing four-year maintenance and operations levy and an almost $2.4 million technology levy at the same time.
A committee of citizens, school board members and others studied the issues before making the recommendation to the school board for approval. The committe came to the conclusion that replacing the junior high school, which is seven buildings built at separate times from 1956 to 1978, would be less expensive that to try to modernize the school. Building a new junior high school in a new location would also mean that classes would not be disrupted while the work occurs. If the bond is approved, the new building is expected to reduce the difficulty in providing security for the campus as well as meet the program needs of the students. If the bond is approved, construction could start in 2008 and finish in 2009.
The reasons cited by the committee for replacing University Place Primary with a new school building were that some parts of the current building have masonry walls that are not reinforced along with the fact that the entire building is not protected by a fire sprinkler system. The committee also reported that the school’s classrooms were small and were poorly designed to allow for persons with disabilities. Lastly the committee noted that severe traffic backups occur during drop off and pick up times because the entry and exit to the parking lot was not intended for so many cars. If the bond is approved, construction could start in 2007 and finish in 2008.
The high school gym needs to be replaced because its bleachers aren’t up to code, the entire student body cannot fit in the gym at the same time and there is no fire sprinkler system to protect it, the committee said. In addition, the gym’s locker rooms are in poor condition and the roof and heating and air conditioning system need replaced. The gym was originally built in 1965. If the bond is approved, construction could start in 2010 and finish in 2011.