Washougal School Board authorizes bond

The $57.69 million measure will be put on the February 2015 ballot

Washougal voters interested in learning more about the three buildings most heavily impacted by passing of the bond are invited on a patron tour on Friday, Dec. 12. The tour will begin at 11 a.m. at the district office, 4855 Evergreen Way. The group would board a school bus and visit JMS, EHS and the WSD bus barn and end back at the district office by 12:30 p.m. for a boxed lunch. Call Cassi Marshall at 954-3005 to reserve a spot. Space is limited.

Washougal voters interested in learning more about the three buildings most heavily impacted by passing of the bond are invited on a patron tour on Friday, Dec. 12. The tour will begin at 11 a.m. at the district office, 4855 Evergreen Way. The group would board a school bus and visit JMS, EHS and the WSD bus barn and end back at the district office by 12:30 p.m. for a boxed lunch. Call Cassi Marshall at 954-3005 to reserve a spot. Space is limited.

The Washougal School Board has authorized the district to issue a general obligation capital bond to address safety, student capacity and facility needs.

This decision comes after nearly a year of research, study and community input by the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. The bond will be $57.68 million and brought before voters at a special election on Feb. 10, 2015.

“This committee was made up of a group of local experts in construction, architecture, engineering and facility management,” noted Dawn Tarzian, district superintendent. “They worked diligently and thoughtfully to identify the most critical facility needs of our district. Our board considered every aspect of their recommendations and acted on those improvements most important to ensuring our Washougal school facilities support a safe, positive environment for student learning and success.”

The following projects will be part of the bond:

o A new 400 student elementary school and a 600 student middle school at the Jemtegaard Middle School site. This will allow for the elimination of “timeworn” portable classrooms at both Gause Elementary and JMS.

o A new Excelsior High School built and expanded to support 90 students. The school would be located at the current EHS site and would replace the expired portables that currently house the school.

o Remodel the front entry at every district school to require visitors to first go into the office before gaining access to the schools’ internal hallways.

o All district classroom door hardware will be upgraded to allow the doors to be locked from the inside during a crisis lockdown situation.

o Replacement of the security cameras at WHS and the addition of two new security cameras.

o Add vehicle gates and security fencing where needed to increase campus security and student/staff safety. This would include fencing the current JMS campus until the new school is opened.

o Roof repairs and HVAC upgrades at Hathaway and Gause that will include a more energy efficient heating system at Hathaway, air-conditioning for the gyms at Hathaway and Gause.

o Build a new 5,500 square foot transportation facility behind the Washougal District Office on Evergreen Way to include dispatch and a bus maintenance shop. This move would replace the current building at 995 “E” St., and help relieve traffic congestion that takes place as buses come and go from their current location.

If approved in February, the bond is projected to increase taxpayer rates by 52 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

“For the Washougal median property value of $200,000, that is around $8.67 per month increase in taxes, or $104 per year,” said Brian Wallace, WSD finance director. “Our current schools have safety issues that need to be addressed and are over capacity with more than 500 students in old portables every day. This bond will allow us to increase safety and get students into classrooms with space for our schools and community to grow.”

Please review our community guidelines