Washington School District makes plans for new schools

Posted at 10:26 PM, Nov 18, 2013

ST. GEORGE -- The Washington County School District is already busy designing new schools.  The district secured funding through a school bond measure that passed earlier this month and is wasting no time putting those funds to use.

School board members met briefly Monday night to certify the results of the Nov. 5 bond election. The measure passed with 52 percent of the vote. The need for expansion comes from the unprecedented growth in the Washington Fields and Little Valley area of St. George.

Residents there say the number of homes has tripled within the past year and continues to grow.

“We love it, but the growth out here has been amazing,” said resident Jessica King. “There are so many kids in this neighborhood. It’s really fun, but the schools are crammed and packed.”

District Business Administrator Brent Bills said three of their middle schools currently have a student population of around 850, but they’re only designed to house about 1,000.

“We want to make sure that when the growth hits, that we have the designs ready to go,” Bills said.

That’s where the $185 million school bond comes in. The district plans to build six new schools with those funds over close to seven years, while renovating and expanding several others.

“We are designing the Pine View Middle School remodel and the Hurricane Middle school addition and remodel,” Bills said. “We’re meeting with the architects tomorrow to choose which architects will be doing the jobs.”

Bills said they still haven’t decided where the new schools will go, although the district owns several spots of land for potential buildings. The actual construction is still a few years out.

Bills said the district only draws on the bonds as they’re needed to accommodate the projected growth.

“We do the construction projects as the students are arriving for them,” Bills said.

But parents in the area are excited about the prospect.

“I’m in favor of having adequate classroom size for the kids,” said Little Valley parent Shawna Robinson. “And making sure that everyone is accommodated, so I think it’s a great idea.”