Richland says two schools in one

RICHLAND, Wash. -- Students at Sacajawea Elementary are going to feel a little crowded. Two schools will operate on one campus in one of the coming school years.

Many neighbors think it's bad idea.

Michael Carroll lives behind Sacajawea Elementary. It's going to be the site of two schools in the fall of next year.

Students from both Sacajawea and Marcus Whitman will use this building while a new school is being built. When it's done -- the Whitman students will leave and go to their new school.

But Sacajawea will also be rebuilt -- in a location much closer to Michael's property.

"This is why we bought our houses. Because we are in the back of a school field," she says.

Michael was at the meeting where the city signed off on the plan.
She felt Richland leaders didn't fully consider the impacts to Fuller Street.

"The water, sewer, electrical impact, the parking impact, the boundaries impact, the environmental impact, and the impact of the people that live in the area," Michael added.

We spoke with Richland's Planning Manager.
He says the bigger problem besides the construction--is the added congestion to the area.

"There's going to be two schools operating, which means there's going to be more traffic, more kids in their neighborhood," says manager Rick Simon.

But the commission decided the temporary inconvenience was worth the long-term result.
We also spoke to neighbors who have no problem with the two-in-one plan.

"It's gonna create jobs, it's gonna create a safer atmosphere for the children. I don't see a lot of down sides," says Kirk Hearne.

Michael isn't against the project. Just not in her backyard -- literally.

"This is a non-growing area. Other schools in the Richland district are screaming for schools. Maybe Sacajawea does need to be demolished and a new one put up. We're not opposing that. We're not opposing children," she says.

"I can see why people feel that way, but it is what it is. You live in town and it's what you gotta expect," added.

Construction on the new Sacajawea Elementary won't begin for at least another year.

The schools will be consolidated during construction of the new Marcus Whitman school.