Warrenton schools to pursue bond

The Warrenton-Hammond School District will ask voters in November for $32.4 million to acquire a new master campus out of the tsunami inundation zone and build a middle school, part of a long-term process to move schools to higher ground.

WARRENTON — The Warrenton-Hammond School District will ask voters for $32.4 million in November to buy a master campus and build a new middle school, part of a long-term plan to move all schools out of the tsunami inundation zone.

A facilities committee in January recommended going out for the initial bond to buy a 70- to 80-acre plot of land for a master campus. A sixth- through eighth-grade middle school would be built first to relieve crowding issues from the more than 700 students at Warrenton Grade School, now one of the five most populous campuses in the state with kindergarten-through-eighth grades.

The committee proposed moving Warrenton High School with a bond measure in May 2022 and the rest of the elementary grades and preschool with a May 2032 bond.

“It made sense,” Debbie Morrow, chairwoman of the school board, said of a bond measure. “Warrenton is growing.”

In order to continue offering a 21st century education, Warrenton needs to improve its facilities, she said.

“Ideally, it would have been wonderful to do one bond and move everyone up to the uplands area, but that’s not a possibility,” she said.

The school district recently took a phone survey to gather people’s opinions on a potential bond. Although the survey only reached an estimated 300 people, about half as many as the district wanted, the majority of those contacted supported a bond measure, Morrow said.

The school district’s bond joins several others on the ballot this year.

In May, voters will decide on bonds referred by the Clatsop Care Center Health District; Warrenton for police; and the Lewis and Clark and Clatskanie rural fire protection districts.

Clatsop County will ask voters in November to pay for a $23.8 million remodel of the former North Coast Youth Correctional Facility in Warrenton into a new county jail.

The Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, which covers most residents in Seaside, will likely ask for between $15 million and $18 million in November to expand the aquatic center.

The Astoria School Board will decide in the near future whether to pursue a bond for school improvements. The school district has identified more than $70 million in facility needs, headlined by a proposed $31 million modernization of Astoria Middle School and $17 million worth of improvements at Astoria High School.

The Seaside School District in 2016 passed a $100 million bond measure to build a new master campus out of the tsunami inundation zone.

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