Meeting Aug. 28 on $1.6M bond work at Washington

       Major-upgrade plans for Washington Elementary will be discussed at a public meeting Monday, Aug. 28, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the school gym.
       Citizens are invited to come to the meeting to get information or offer ideas on the $1.6 million project, which will redo much of the school's interior next summer.
       Slated for the biggest changes is the eastern wing, which was added in the 1970s as an “open-classroom” school but is slated to be redesigned in the traditional manner, with corridors, permanent walls and doors.
       A similar project will be taking place next summer at Bristol Elementary.
       Washington's new layout is still being determined. “It's an evolving process,” said Washington Principal Terry Martinez. “That's why we're starting so early [on planning].”
       Project funding is coming from the district-wide capital improvements bond issue that received final voter approval in 2005.
       Meeting attendees will also be asked for comments on how to deploy $50,000 in funds that the bond issue allows Washington to spend as desired. “We could allocate it for classroom space, to replace aging playground equipment or for upgrades to our stage,” Martinez said, when asked what he'd like to see. “There are different ideas running around.”
       For the main project, some of the work will depend on what can be afforded. One thing Martinez would like to see in the east wing, if the money is there, is windows. It was built at a time when it was believed that children could get distracted looking out windows; now, he said, studies have shown that natural light “adds a level of comfort” to students.
       In addition to the new east-wing layout, the scheduled work includes air conditioning throughout the school, replacement of the west-wing windows and doors, new electrical system, new heating system, new playground asphalt, and some new playground equipment.

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