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School board begins weighing $54 million bond measure

School administrators

have put forward a scaled-back version of a bond measure to rebuild Vashon High School — one that would cost taxpayers about $20 million less than the bond measure voters defeated in March.

The proposed measure would cost around $54 million and would include a 40,000-square-foot classroom building as well as far-reaching renovations to both the gymnasium and Building A, the main structure at the high school.

Part of Chautauqua Elementary School would also be remodeled to accommodate the district’s administrative offices.

Left out of the proposal are a secondary gym, a rebuilt track and other improvements to the athletic facilities.

Board members hope to approve a proposal this fall for a February 2010 ballot measure.

Board chair Bob Hen-nessey said he senses “a fair amount of agreement” around this new package of improvements.

“We’re trying to balance what the needs of the facilities are with what we think the community is willing to pay,” he said.

“From where we sit now, it looks like a realistic thing to do,” added Laura Wishik, vice-chair of the board. “But if the economy continues to go down, we’ll have to rethink it.”

Renovations to the gym are the trickiest part of the proposal because of the high costs of the project — around $10 million, Hennessey said. But the current gym is in such sorry shape, he said, that a complete makeover is needed.

“It’s a 50-year-old building that needs a fair amount of work,” he said.

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