$3.8 million state grant enables needed facilities improvement without local taxpayer burden
In 2021, Skamania was awarded a $3.8 million Washington State Modernization Grant to make critical updates to the aging school building.
“The modernization grant was a gamechanger, as it provided the essential updates without requiring additional funding from our community,” says Superintendent and Principal Dr. Ralph Pruitt.
The existing school building was built in 1947, with many of the original systems still in use. While the structure of the building is very solid, many systems were at the end of their usable life prior to the updates.
The grant-funded renovations dramatically improved the efficiency and longevity of the building, with a new roof, new windows and doors to minimize heat loss, and the creation of a leak-proof building envelope that will continue to protect current and future generations at Skamania.
The failing heating and cooling system was replaced with a new HVAC system that keeps rooms at a comfortable temperature, and has increased the filtration and circulation throughout the building to maintain healthy air in classrooms. New fire suppression and electrical systems throughout significantly increase the safety of the building. A new intercom system allows for staff to communicate more easily during the school day and in emergencies. A previous grant paid for the recent replacement of the original plumbing system.
Students and staff returned in September 2021 to a brand-new school interior. New paint, flooring, lighting, and fixtures were installed throughout the building.
“The school looks spectacular! My favorite part is the big windows because they let so much sunshine in while I’m working. The colors make me feel happy,” says fourth-grader Emmalyn.
Classrooms also received new and adaptive furniture sized for the students they serve. Audrina, a first-grader, likes the wobbly stools best “because you can fidget with them and it helps me focus on the teacher.”
Many districts pay for construction or upgrades through a bond or capital levy measure, which increases taxes in the community for a few years. By using grant funds for these improvements, Skamania was able to increase the safety and comfort of all who use the school, without burdening local taxpayers.