Camas School Board will vote on bond

New high school, elementary school are included

The Camas School Board will vote later this month on whether to submit a bond to voters.

Last night, information about the $120 million measure was shared at a board work session to a packed audience.

The board will decide at its Monday, Nov. 23 meeting, if the bond will be placed on the February 2016 ballot.

Proposed projects include:

  • A 600 student magnet high school on the CHS campus.
  • A new Lacamas Elementary north of Lacamas Lake to accommodate 600 students.
  • Implement long-term parking solutions for CHS using the current Lacamas site.
  • Acquire property for future school sites.
  • Improve building safety at all schools with controlled entry/access points, fob controls, video surveillance, improved exterior lighting and fencing.
  • Facility improvements such as ADA upgrades, mechanical system upgrades, roof improvements, technology infrastructure upgrades and carpet replacement.
  • Modernize the Joyce Garver Theater/Garfield building, add concessions and bathrooms to the Doc Harris Stadium visitor side, and turf and light improvements at CHS fields.
  • “What you’re seeing today is the culmination of a great amount of work in this community,” said Mike Nerland, superintendent. “It’s a responsible plan and fits our needs. The largest area of cost is serving our growing student population. We want to provide what is needed, but not overtax the community.”

    The bond measure would cost taxpayers with a $300,000 home approximately $15 more per month. Owners of a $500,000 home would pay an additional $25 per month.

    Nerland noted that renovating the Garfield building so that it can be opened again will benefit the district as well as community groups.

    “Using it to house our preschool programs will open up space at Woodburn Elementary and Camas High School,” he said. “It can also be used by arts and music programs both inside and outside of the district.”

    The building is the site of the first Camas High School and Joyce Garver Theater.

    Assistant Superintendent Jeff Snell described the proposed 600 magnet student high school as a place for kids who want to personalize their learning experience.

    “They would have a lot of opportunities to collaborate on projects together,” he said. “We did a lot of looking at other schools who use this model. We are hoping this will be an opportunity to bring relevance to their day.”

    The high school currently has two magnet programs housed inside the main campus.

    Board member Julie Rotz said she was “pleasantly surprised,” by the bond dollar amount.

    “It is nice to see it is slightly less than anticipated and that items were added,” she said. “It seems like a balanced plan to accommodate needs at this point and time.”

    Board member Casey O’Dell noted that the magnet high school model seems like a good fit for the district.

    “I think it is the way to go,” he said.

    In a guest column published in the Nov. 3 Post-Record, Camas resident Troy Hull said that two separate, comprehensive high schools, is preferable to that of a large campus with a magnet school.

    “Having two comprehensive high schools will encourage more kids to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities compared to one high school,” he said. “We are at risk of losing touch with some of our students when we allow our school to get too big.”

    At the meeting, he inquired as to who would have the opportunity to attend the magnet school on the CHS campus.

    “Anyone and everyone who is interested in that type of learning experience,” Snell replied.

    Dave Lattanzi said he has supported every bond and levy for the past 30 years.

    “But I feel you lose the personal touch with a huge high school,” he said. “I wish I had gotten involved in the bond process earlier.”

    For more information about the bond, visit www.camas.wednet.edu/2016bond.

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