Focus on Prairie High School

January 25, 2018 Joe Vajgrt

Focus on Prairie High School

January 25, 2018


In the 1970s, burnt orange shag carpet was all the rage at businesses and homes across the country. Borrowing from that era’s popular design aesthetic, burnt orange industrial carpet was installed in Prairie High School’s 500-900 buildings in 1979 when it first opened its doors to students. Fast forward almost 40 years, and you’ll still find that original carpet covering Prairie floors.

PHS is home to about 1,466 students today. When you visit campus, it’s apparent that there’s plenty of “Prairie Pride” to go around. The main building at Prairie underwent renovations in 1995, but the satellite buildings, home to the school’s math, science, history, cooking, art, and special education classes, are in need of replacement.   

Battle Ground Public Schools' Board of Directors has placed a bond measure on the Feb. 13 ballot that would fund the replacement of the 500-900 buildings at Prairie High School. The bond would also replace four aging schools in the district and reduce overcrowding with the construction of a new primary and middle school. In addition, two buildings at Amboy Middle School would be renovated, an Alternative Learning Experience campus would be developed, and improvements to safety and security, classroom spaces, technology, and student recreation would be made throughout the district. The bond measure requires a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

While burnt orange carpet might be considered unfashionable, the need to replace PHS’ exterior 500-900 buildings goes much deeper than that. A group of volunteer citizens known as the Facilities Improvement Team (FIT) spent countless hours studying the needs of the school district to develop a Long-Range Facilities Plan. FIT members identified more than 25 specific projects and prioritized them into three phases over the next 18 years, identifying the renovation project at PHS as a Phase 1 priority.

In addition to renovating the 500-900 buildings, Prairie High School would see improvements for student recreation and upgraded security measures put in place, including the installation of fencing to help separate the burgeoning campus from nearby apartment complexes and the ever-bustling NE 117th Avenue abutting the school’s boundaries to the east. The flooring will also be replaced throughout the school.

FIT members used local and state data, community input (through ThoughtExchange) and expert consultation to develop the plan, which provides information and guidance on appropriate facilities for educational instruction. It aligns with the district’s strategic plan and includes funding considerations, educational enhancements, maintenance, construction of new facilities, replacement and renovations of current facilities and appropriate upgrades. 

“We’re seeing a lot of growth all around us,” said Prairie Principal Travis Drake. “We’re running out of classroom space, and we already have teachers who roam between different classrooms because there isn’t sufficient space for them to have their own classrooms.”

The Special Election will take place on Feb. 13, and ballots will begin arriving in voters’ mailboxes as soon as Saturday, Jan. 27. Please visit www.battlegroundps.org/bond for more information. 


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