Touchet school bond: A look at the educational concerns

<p>Touchet Secondary School</p>

Touchet Secondary School

We continue our coverage of the school bond proposals on the ballot across our region, with a look at the Touchet School District's bond.

The $6.5 million bond proposal would pay for major renovations for Touchet Secondary School, which houses about 250 students.

Educators and students say parts of the school are deteriorating, and many items are outdated.

They say without some upgrades soon, education may suffer.

9th grader Jared Ortiz, has been going to Touchet Secondary School since he was in Kindergarten, and says it's time for some improvements.

"The school's falling apart" said Ortiz.

Educators say the K - 12 school, which was built in 1975, no longer meets safety and educational standards.

In fact, a study last year from the state superintendent's office graded the building's condition, and gave the school a 43 out of 100.

"The overall condition can unfortunately contribute to not the best learning environment" said Susan Bell, school superintendent.

One of the main problems is the school's deteriorating roof, which is covered in moss.

It's creating safety issues, as water leaks through when it rains.

Last year, part of the roof collapsed during a storm and fell through a classroom.

"The roof had leaked and came down into the ceiling. So I came in and had a huge puddle of water in my room that morning" said Guy Gregg, science teacher.

Educators say the school's HVAC system is also problematic as every room has a different unit.

And each room has just one single-pane window in the corner, and the air outside seeps through.

"So it's very energy inefficient" said Bell.

Students say the aging problems are affecting their education.

The Home Ec room was state of the art when it was built in the 1970s, but now, not so much.

"Everything's older and outdated" said Ortiz.

Educators say the rest of the school is poorly insulated, and electrical outlets are rare - some in unsafe locations.

They say the school has served them well, "but I think we need to do this to be better" said Bell.

The $6.5 million bond would cost Touchet residents $166 dollars a year for every $100,000 of property value.

If the bond passes, educators expect to start renovating the school in the summer of 2014.