WCHS moves closer to finalizing remodel plans

Donelle Pardee Whiting

The concepts for future renovation plans at Washington Community High School are coming with an unaffordable price tag for the school district, according to Superintendent Dr. Jim Dunnan.

At a meeting Nov. 17, the community engagement committee — consisting of nearly a dozen interested parents, alumni or WCHS staff who have attended the last four planning meetings — presented its findings and two strongest options to the school board.

The two options happen to be similar in aesthetics and structural work, including: moving administration offices near the school’s entryway, making the commons area the heart of the building and a reconfigured area to include nine new science rooms and remodeled locker rooms.

One option costs more than $29.7 million, while the other totals more than $32 million.

Dunnan said neither option will fit within the school district’s allotted budget.

The minimum amount of health/life/safety work which must be done at the school totals $4 million.

The school district’s bond capacity is $23.5 million.

“The figures for the two options they gave us was way more than we have the ability to do at this time. It is not feasible and can’t happen at this point,” Dunnan said.

Dunnan added the committee must go back and figure out much work the district can have done to the school for a dollar amount in between those two amounts.

A referendum on the April ballot is also a possibility.

Dunnan said a new narrowed-down plan and dollar amount will be presented by the committee at an options forum Dec. 1.

The meeting will also include feedback to the committee from the rest of the community about the plans they are recommending.

Dunnan said the hope is to identify the one strongest option that night, but it could be two options.

A presentation with the final building choice will go the school board for a vote Dec. 8.