Administrators consider new Kennewick School District bond

KENNEWICK - Kennewick is just spending the last of the money that came from its most recent bond. And the district is eyeing another one. Officials hope to build three new schools and upgrade two existing ones.

This is where learning happens. But when these courtyards and classrooms get packed with kids, that growth is put into jeopardy.

"I think it's a good school. It's definitely over-crowded. I've heard the hallways are really overcrowded," said Desert Hills parent Melanie Downard.

Downard is a parent of six. All of whom have or will attend Desert Hills Middle School.

"I think Kennewick has done a great job at updating all the elementary schools so far, and I'd like to see Desert Hills the next on the list," added Downard.

Desert Hills is one of the schools Kennewick hopes to renovate with an upcoming bond. Westgate Elementary would also see a remodel and three new schools would be built. One is likely a middle school in west Kennewick. The exact location is undecided, but the district does have property in Hansen Park. Two other elementary schools are on the list, too. One south of Southridge, the other to be determined.

To pay for it all, administrators floated a bond of up to $90 million to the board. That's an estimated amount. The last one was just under 70-million and took two-tries to pass. Officials say the bond is needed. Not only are the buildings outdated, but they're overcrowded. The district sees the changes as a necessity for education.

"We've just had a positive experience with Kennewick School District. We've had different kids with different needs, and we've been able to meet all their needs accordingly," said Downard.

The district plans to have project designs ready about the time they ask the taxpayers for the money likely two years from now.

Total construction costs are projected to be over 150-million dollars. This would be accomplished with state matching funds.

Didn't hear your child's school on that list? Renovating Kennewick High, Amistad and Ridge View are possible priorities for a bond in 2020. That could potentially cover changes at Legacy High School and the Mid-Columbia Partnership as well.