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Fri, Feb. 21

Board to learn about new high school

The members of the Prescott Unified School District Governing Board want to know more about how the public feels about the district building a new high school.

Superintendent Kevin Kapp said he will invite a consultant to the board's March 20 meeting to offer more advice on collecting public opinion.

After the state approved a new 500-student school for PUSD, the district Growth Committee submitted a list of suggestions to the board. In it, the committee recommended a $50 million and $70 million bond go on the November 2007 ballot, selling the current Prescott High School property, and using money from both the state and the proposed bond to build new high school. The building would accommodate the expanding Northpoint Expeditionary Learning Academy and a growing high school population.

In general, the board appeared favorable to applying for a bond and building a new high school. However, board members stressed the importance of collecting more public comment in an organized fashion.

Two Prescott residents spoke against the idea of a new high school.

"Why would we want to build a new high school when we have a working high school already in the city limits?" said Robert Carlisi. "The central location is perfect to where I live and a lot of people who live in the center of town."

Victor Wrublik insisted that spending money on a new state-of-the-art building will not improve the quality of education.

"Let's fund good teachers, not big fancy buildings," he said.

Student representative John Vanuk said he believes the students need a new high school, and that hiring a consultant would be the best way to go. The current structure has so much wear and tear, he continued.

Tom Staley said keeping the high school at its current location makes no sense.

"I would like to look into pressing forward to a brand new school, state-of-the-art, and doing it with as little cost as possible to the taxpayers," he said.

During their most recent retreat, board members spoke about leasing 60 acres of state land off Pioneer Park to build a new high school. Northpoint director, Geneva Saint-Amour, said her school will outgrow its current location at the Dexter Family Resource Center when a sophomore class begins next year.

Kapp said Prescott High School currently accommodates 2,000 students, but is on only 32 acres of land. The State School Facilities Board recommends a school of this size occupy at least 50 acres.

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