School bond will go before voters in Tenino

Special election Feb. 11 to decide fate of $38 million plan to renovate schools, update athletic facilities

The Chronicle (Centralia)November 30, 2013 

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Third graders Cash Ahrens (left), and and Ashton Lohman read along on a computer screens as they listen to stories during a Power Reading Online (PRO) session at Tenino Elementary School on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012. (TONY OVERMAN/Staff photographer)

TONY OVERMAN — The Olympian Buy Photo

Tenino taxpayers will decide in February whether they are willing to fund renovations and new construction at Tenino schools.

For more than a year, the Tenino School Board has discussed and fine-tuned a $38 million bond proposition. Earlier this week, the board made its request official: The bond proposal will be put to voters in a special election Feb. 11.

According to the School Board, “the projects are urgently required to correct existing conditions,” which include dilapidated infrastructure, educationally outdated classrooms, and threats to student safety and security.

No restrictions will be placed on the rate or amount of the property tax levies, but they will be capped at amounts sufficient to meet the bond payments as they come due, according to the board’s resolution.

The bonds will mature within 25 years, or earlier if the board chooses.

Broadly, the bond would be used to renovate Tenino elementary and middle schools, construct a second high school gymnasium, and improve the district’s athletic facilities.

A foremost concern, at both the elementary and middle schools, is the lack of community space.

According to BLRB Architects, which helped develop the improvement plans: “It’s nice having the multipurpose room detached from the rest of the school for evening community use” at the elementary school. “However, it is inadequate to serve the programs that use it.” The school requires more storage for music and athletic equipment and an updated kitchen for community events, they said.

The heavily used middle school gym is too small, according to BLRB.

The board hopes to address these insufficiencies by constructing an addition for “district and community use” that will include a gym, locker rooms, a central kitchen, a performing arts room and music facilities. To create the new facility, the two existing buildings will be brought together.

Other elementary and middle school renovations include upgrades to the heating and cooling systems, electrical systems, fire protection, alarm systems, plumbing, technology, flooring, and roofing plus bringing the buildings into Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

The new high school gym would be fully equipped and include weight and locker rooms. Athletic facility upgrades include installing synthetic turf and resurfacing the track.

The School Board narrowed the projects from an initial list that included $142 million of renovations.

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