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District’s “old school” schools need 21st-century updates

In March, the district conducted an informal online survey about district facilities needs. More than 1,500 respondents—parents, students, staff members and the community—told VPS how its buildings could be improved.

King Elementary School

King Elementary School, built in 1971

The comments suggested enhancements such as new carpet, paint, walls and lighting; better indoor air quality and heating/cooling systems; and furniture, equipment and bathroom upgrades.

Feedback also related to the need for replacing/upgrading older schools and for increasing capacity in schools to reduce or eliminate portables at overcrowded sites.

Some respondents called for site improvements of various locations such as playgrounds, ball fields and parking lots.

Building a single, consolidated facility for Vancouver iTech Preparatory, which currently is located at two separate campuses, was referenced as well.

Ogden Elementary School

Ogden Elementary School, built in 1973

These comments are helping district leaders assess facilities needs and determine how best to bring them up to standards that fully support flexible learning environments. The district will continue to gather input next fall.

In addition, a symposium was held May 27 to gather input from staff and community members, parents and students about design principles for elementary schools. Participants were asked to focus on equity for students and staff and on bringing facilities up to 21st-century standards.

McLoughlin Middle School

McLoughlin Middle School, built in 1956

If approved by the district’s board of directors, a potential bond measure could be on the ballot as early as February 2016.

The community last approved a VPS bond measure in 2001. That bond helped replace or build Eisenhower, Franklin, Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Sarah J. Anderson and Washington elementary schools and Thomas Jefferson Middle School.

This and other stories originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of Inside Vancouver Public Schools.