Wasco Tribune - Serving the community since 1970

By Toni DeRosa
Wasco Tribune 

New $30M gym for WHS?


Last updated 1/18/2020 at 5:59am | View PDF

Courtesy Wasco High School

WHS architect's rendering of future gymnasium.

In March, Wasco High School will be asking taxpayers to pass a bond for nearly $40 million to build a new gym and renovate the old one.

A town hall meeting was held Tuesday in the cafeteria at the high school, where Assistant Superintendent Rob Cobb presented an outline of why the district needs a new gym.

"The $38.9-million bond is pared down from the one the district attempted to pass in 2018," Cobb said. "The gym will have a seating capacity of 2,000."

Cobb stated that the assessed value of someone with a home worth $200,000 would pay $60 a year more in taxes, which calculates to only $30 per year per $100,000 of assessed value, which means $5 extra a month.

He also said that the district receives 80% of its funding from the assessed value of agricultural, natural resources and industrial properties, while only 14% comes from property owners.

Cobb provided a brief historical outline of the district's previous bonds. In 1915, the district passed a $45-million dollar bond to construct the school and in 2008, Measure C was passed for $33.5 million to expand and modernize the school's sports complex, upgrades, three new classroom wings (English, social science and math), a new cafeteria and a new student services building. The district also modernized the library wing and the old science building. "The old cafeteria is now the library," Cobb said.

Toni DeRosa | Wasco Tribune

With little room to spare, the students look like sardines packed in the gym.

Cobb estimates the new gym will cost $29 million and renovating the old gym $10 million.

"In 2018 we tried to pass Measure E for $55 million," he said. "We had a 54.6% approval; however, we needed 55% to pass."

He also stated that future needs will be addressed at a later time such as the aquatic center, a Maintenance, Operations and Technology building expansion, and a Language Arts building.

"This bond measure will add either $5 or $10 a month to each property owner's tax bill," he added.

Cobb also addressed the question about adding a second high school in Wasco and said if this bond passes; the projected growth is the school won't reach capacity for 20-plus years. "Wasco High needs 2,700 students to reach saturation," Cobb said. There are 1,716 now.


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