The Chehalis School District has formed a committee of parents, community members and educators to advise the school board as the district develops a facilities master plan.
The group, called the Capital Facilities Needs Advisory Committee, will have its first meeting on Jan. 18.
Committee members will meet nine times over the next several months, changing locations each time and touring facilities.
The committee has been charged with considering “the health of the economy, statutory requirements, financing methods and the financial capacity of the district and its citizens” as the district develops its facilities master plan, according to the school district.
The plan will serve as a guide used to determine and prioritize the district’s long-term needs for new construction, remodel or replacement construction, program improvements, life cycle improvements, land disposition and housing, according to the school district.
It will also be “the backbone for strategic capital facilities planning and is intended to help the district maintain the momentum already begun in providing educational classroom and program requirements for Chehalis students and families,” according to the district.
“We have some facilities to be very proud of, some facilities that need some TLC, and some facilities that are not meeting our needs — instructionally or otherwise,” said Chehalis Superintendent Dr. Christine Moloney in a written statement. “The Capital Facilities Needs Advisory Committee will do an in-depth review of our facilities, then prioritize identified needs, taking many things into consideration, including instructional needs and public input.”
The committee was commissioned by Moloney to provide the school board with “a thoughtfully-crafted list of capital projects prioritized to direct project planning over time,” according to a news release from the district.
“Clearly, the management of tax-payer dollars is done very publicly,” said the Director of Business and Operations Heather Pinkerton, who is facilitating the committee’s meetings alongside Capital Projects Coordinator Ed Rothlin. “If the board directs us, this advisory committee will draft propositions for the board to consider placing before voters.”
The school district wrote: “The Chehalis School District Operations Department is responsible for building, maintaining and improving school properties in a manner that supports student success, safety and comfort to the users, as well as community pride in appearance.”
“In Chehalis, these kinds of decisions are made carefully, with the constant reminder that funding of public schools comes from … the public,” Moloney stated. “The spending of taxpayer dollars is done very publicly, through conservative planning, cautious oversight over time, and at the direction of our elected school board.”
The district encourages parents, staff and community members to engage in the process through dialogue and conversation.
Upcoming information on the committee and the district’s facilities work will be posted at https://chehalisschools.org/facilities/.
“You will be encouraged to share your thoughts and ideas regarding the school district’s facilities,” the district said in a message to the Chehalis community.