Walla Walla school bond: A look at classes without air conditioning

<p>Walla Walla High School</p>

Walla Walla High School

Several school districts across our region are hoping voters will pass bonds tomorrow to replace, renovate and build new schools.

Tonight, we conclude our look at these proposals with a look at the Walla Walla School District's bond proposal.

The $48 million bond would pay for a major renovation and modernization project for Walla Walla High School.

The school hasn't had any renovations since it was built 50 years ago, and educators say it's time for some upgrades before education is seriously affected.

Terry Willcuts went to Walla Walla High School 42 years ago.

He now teaches language arts there, and says not much has changed about the building since he was a student.

"The desks that are here are the same desks that I probably sat in when I was a student" said Willcuts.

Educators say the school, which was built in 1963 can longer meet the needs of current students.

"It's just at the end of its useful life" said Mick Miller, Walla Walla Public Schools Superintendent.

One of the main problems with the school is the air conditioning - most rooms don't have any.

And since most classes have a wall of single-pane windows and poor insulation, the rooms can become unbearable to learn in on hot days.

"It gets to be 90, 95 degrees in the classroom. With 30 kids in a classroom and no air conditioning, it is not a great learning environment" said Miller.

The school is also full of outdated equipment.

The science labs are too small to give all the students a chance to conduct experiments, and electrical outlets are scarce.

"I was discouraged actually to take any more science just 'cuz I thought I'm gonna get the core subjects, but I'm not really gonna get much out of it. I might as well wait until college or somewhere where I can actually be hands on and really experience it" said Michaela Stalder, Walla Walla H.S. senior.

Lockers are also broken and can't be repaired.

There's barely any storage space.

And the classrooms are undersized.

Add it all up, and students say it's affecting their education.

"On top of that, you have it hot, everyone's frustrated, windows are open, which is distracting students with everyone walking by. By the end of the class, you got about a good 15 minutes of class in with all the distractions" said Stalder.

Teachers say they've put band-aid on top of band-aid to keep the school in decent condition, but now it's time for some improvements.

"It's certainly time to upgrade and fix this old girl" said Willcuts.

The $48 million bond would cost Walla Walla residents $68 a year for every $100,000 of property value.

If the bond passes, administrators plan to start renovating the school in the summer of 2014.

The project would be completed by winter 2016.

School bonds need a supermajority of 60% to pass.

We'll bring you all the results from the bond proposals in Pasco, Richland, Touchet, and Walla Walla tomorrow night.