Othello Schools Begin Facility Planning Process

OTHELLO — Facilities needs in the Othello School District — what needs to be built, if anything, and when — are the subject of a new plan being discussed by district officials. Recommendations from the plan will be presented to the Othello School Board in late November or early December.

District operations consultant Gina Bullis said Thursday that the plan and recommendations are still in progress.

“We don’t really know what we’re going to do,” Bullis said.

The final decision whether or not to execute a construction bond, and when, if the answer is yes, will rest with the school board.

OSD director of projects and risk management Gregg Fultz said district officials have been researching and working on a facilities plan since 2018. Voters rejected a construction requirement in February 2018 and a plan revised was still under consideration when the COVID-19 pandemic ended. all work there.

Currently, Othello has four elementary schools, McFarland Middle School, Othello High School, and Desert Oasis High School.

District communications director Ed Petersen said the plan not only looks at the district’s current needs, but also future needs.

District officials worked with a consultant to identify some of the needs and make recommendations to address them. The report will be given to a committee for review, and committee members will make recommendations to the school board.

“Stay tuned. Stuff is happening, Bullis said.

The needs and options presented by Teater-Crocker Inc., the consultant, include expansion of existing sites, possibly a fifth elementary school, and improvements to support services.

Options included expanding the MMS, with the aim of adding enough space to accommodate sixth graders. One of the options for OHS would be to demolish the 600 wing and build 18 general classrooms and three science classrooms to replace it.

The construction of a fifth primary school was one of the options. The gymnasiums in the three elementary schools that were not part of the identified needs. A separate building for all pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students is also one of the options.

The expansion of kitchens, freezers and food storage space in all schools has been identified as a need, as well as the relocation of the central district food storage warehouse.

Bullis said it’s inherent in facility planning that a construction obligation will sooner or later be put to the voters. What it will contain and when it will be submitted to voters will depend on the school board.

Louisa R. Loomis