Naselle-Grays River Valley School District is well regarded in the Pacific Northwest for its innovative programs and academic achievements. Some of its facilities are a different matter.
The main classroom complex is in good shape. It houses K-12 in three wings organized around a central core.
However, although they have been well maintained, buildings and sports facilities in the remainder of the campus are in serious need of modernization.
The superintendent of public instruction ranked the physical condition of Naselle’s career technical education and music building as 53 out of a possible score of 100. Students and teachers in these facilities manage to be successful in spite of their surroundings, but the spaces are throwbacks to the 1960s and get in the way of education.
Strengthening technical education is a particularly appealing way of providing job skills to young people who want to stay in this resource-based area.
Likewise, the stadium has reached the point of obsolescence. Students have to be transported to Naselle Youth Camp or the former Rosburg school for practice.
In addition, the bond proposal addresses a wide variety of much-needed, but less visible infrastructure.
School administrators and the board are doing a good job at finding ways to stretch local funds by seeking grants and state matching funds to the maximum extent possible. Though no one relishes taxes, the end result here will be only $73 a year more per $100,000 in valuation than taxpayers were spending on the expired bond.
There comes a point in the lifespan of every facility when it makes more sense to undertake a thorough renovation than to merely keep applying short-term patches. The work proposed for the Naselle campus is conservative and sensible, designed to address the needs of southeastern Pacific County for the next 20-plus years. It’s impossible to imagine a community where the school is more central to life than it is in Naselle. This bond is a smart and necessary way of insuring this town-school collaboration remains strong and fun for decades to come.
Mail ballots are in people’s hands now. Please take time to vote yes. Votes will be counted on Feb. 12.