Tonasket School Board approves facilities bond

Over 100 people participated in facilities meetings

TONASKET – Tonasket School Board members approved a facilities bond proposal of just under 10 million dollars ($9,998,554.00) at their June 29 regular board meeting.

Ned Warnick of Design West presented the chosen bond plan to the board after a lot of time was spent by volunteers on the Facilities Planning Committee to narrow down perceived needs within the school district.

“I can remember people saying last year, ‘Don’t bring me a Christmas wish list, bring me what we need.’ I want to thank you guys, you have done a really good job and can expect to see our full support,” board member Lloyd Caton told Warnick and committee members present at the meeting.

Warnick said over 100 people participated in the committee meetings.

“We looked at what we needed,” said Warnick. “We looked at numbers as low four to six million and as high as 17 million, and the thought process was a little like Goldilocks; this one is just right. The small numbers are too small and it’s not what we need. The big numbers, well we really don’t need this. I think this is a very valuable approach.”

Warnick said TSD has a “very complicated” bond, as issues need to be addressed at every facility.

“The biggest change is when we ran the last bond, the class size initiative had not yet passed, so with this bond the elementary school was a much larger focus. We need to reduce class sizes across the school to comply with the new state legislation,” said Warnick.

The proposal calls for an additional five classrooms to deal with both class size reduction and enrollment growth; a special education addition and music room sound isolation improvements, and an athletic event restroom addition to the elementary school.

“The restroom is needed for square footage and number of fixtures we need for added classroom size, so it’s out by the fields but not dedicated to football,” said McCullough.

Six classrooms will be added at the middle school with a science lab addition and a middle school gym bleacher addition.

“This will allow us to put grades six through eight back in their own space and high schoolers in their own space,” said Warnick. “The middle school bleachers don’t work in a game situation, so we added a small addition to allow that.”

At the high school, the proposal calls for a CTE/Vocational Shop addition with a masonry and steel building addition, and retrofitting of the existing tech lab to become an Ag Science Lab.

“Your vocational technical program is an amazing program, but it is done in a tight, substandard and borderline safe space,” said Warnick. “By adding an ag lab, you can keep the vocational lab all together in a convenient space.”

The proposal calls for modernizing space in the TSD maintenance/transportation complex where the old elementary school used to be and currently AmeriCorps is currently housed for the Alternative and Outreach Program.

“The Alternative School likes to be able to create their own space, so they were attracted to that idea,” said Warnick. “The space is not very dense, but the square footage is there and there are also portables outside of it.”

Warnick said a leveling and fencing of where the old playground fades out would create a green space for the Tonasket Choice High School and Outreach Program.

Planned upgrades to the Sports Complex include a new disabled accessible path and track resurfacing. Repairs to the baseball field would be regrading, a backstop and infield surfacing supplies. The softball field repairs call for supplies only.

“The regrading of the baseball field was added in, and funded by getting tighter on square footage of the bleachers,” said Warnick.

“You have a great looking campus, you take really good care of it,” said Warnick. “But that can be a disadvantage, with people driving past who say ‘it looks great.’ But all those pieces are real needs.”

The bond, if paid off over ten years, would cost property owners approximately $2.58 per $1,000 of assessed value. If extended out 15 years, the numbers would drop to $1.82 per $1,000, and a twenty-year bond would cost around $1.37 per $1,000.

“Tonight let’s just make the decision if we want to go with the entire package, and if this is a package the board approves, then we would go forward with the financing package,” said Superintendent Steve McCullough.

Catherine Stangland moved to go forward with the $10 million bond, and Caton seconded.

Facilities Committee Members who worked with Warnick on the bond proposal are Aaron Alberts, Stacy Kester, Andy Jones, Bob Ashmore, Clint Duchow, Rob Inlow, Patti Hill, George Hill, Ray Timm, Michael Timm, Mike Larson, Janet Bretz, Jennifer Steinhouer, Liz Stucker, Jeff Hardesty, Jeremy Clark, Jay Tyus, John Verbeck, Matt Alexaner, Catherine Stangland, Steve McCullough and Rachel Lacey.