As an alumnus of Hermiston High School and father to current HHS students, I urge you to vote yes for the upcoming bond for the Hermiston School District.
I was a 4th grade Highland Hills Husky when it opened in 1980. For many of us, 1980 seems not all that long ago. But, if you are a building that houses hundreds of students day after day for that many years you are worn out. Highland Hills Elementary School has now educated my children, as well. When visiting them at school I would find myself comparing the structure to when it was new and to other schools. The building has areas chipping away, the heating and cooling system seems non-existent and obviously inefficient, restrooms are irreparable from use, access for students with physical challenges is difficult, and so on.
Now as a parent, when I look at that building I see is a lot of open space and so many doors! In today’s environment, we unfortunately look at safety of our children from a much more severe perspective. The old design of Rocky Heights and Highland Hills is not conducive to secure campuses. In a recent safety audit performed by the Hermiston Police Department, Highland Hills and Rocky Heights fell well short of meeting current safety standards, due in large part to their lack of life-safety alert systems and outdated design. Having a controlled access to the school buildings where students and visitors use centralized entrance/exit is essential to that safety.
Driving around town one notices the number of modulars at our schools. Though the school district planned for significant growth when building new buildings, the district’s growth has exceeded those numbers and that space. I am concerned that children walk to different buildings to get to class at a young age or that a high school student must walk into the main building from modulars to use the restroom.
I encourage you to attend the informational meetings, ask to visit the buildings, or investigate the website http://hermiston.k12.or.us/facilities-master-planning/may-2017-bond-information to learn about the challenges of the district and how voting “yes” will help Hermiston students.
Please vote YES for the Hermiston School District Bond presented on the May ballot.