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March 26, 2015     Cheney Free Press
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March 26, 2015
 

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Page 4 Free Press Thursday, March 26, 2015 On April 28 the Cheney School District will rerun its $44.88 million bond issue intended to fund a massive remodeling of Cheney High School. Call it "Bond Version 2.0" if you will as if it were compared to the latest release of a soft- ware product. The district's revised ef- fort attempts to address minor glitches that they think resulted in the Feb. 10 ballot measure that fell about 1.5 percent - 100 voters or so we're told - short of the 60 percent needed for passage. But is this version being rushed to taxpayers too soon - and too fast? The Cheney Free Press editorial board thinks so. While we know there's a definite need to address grow- ing enrollment across the dis- trict, better facilities and a safer environment, we also have a number of questions that do not seem to have been adequately addressed. And that might be why vot- ers, only 37 percent of whom cast a ballot, failed to provide enough yes votes. If you're going to increase the capacity of the high school from its original 900 to a pro- jected 1,800 students, at what point does its footprint become too large for that area? In other words it occupies a space neces- sary to house a small college. When first built in the mid 1960s, Cheney High sat rela- tively isolated nestled between Sixth and Eighth avenues in the north part of town. Since then the campus has become sur- rounded by housing develop- ments such as Golden Hills and Harvest Bluff. Therein lies one of our major concerns. This project potentially has the unintended consequence of overtaxing infrastructure from a traffic standpoint with no way to accommodate it. And Cheney High's growth is just one of the issues. Eastern Washington University is also attracting new students at an unprecedented rate. Streets around the high school are already busy and will be more crowded when factoring in EWU. Another question is the proposed building renovation itself. Some who attended a recent meeting to discuss the bond have suggested a more lengthy and involved conversation. What is currently being of- fered is called "design-build" and is more of a conceptual idea presented by NAC Archi- tects. Some at the March 17 meet- ing asked why not reverse the process and find out what the building will actually look like, and therefore present a more concrete cost to voters? Doesn't spending this kind of money deserve an actual concept, such as in 2012 when Spokane spent $41 million to expand their convention center and requested public input on competitive designs? There's the question of add- ing more space for students - essentially doubling the capacity of the original build- ing. A 1993 renovation got us to where we are now and pushed the footprint about as far as it can go. Now the only way is up. But that too is hampered and lim- ited since the 1993 remodel's footings likely cannot support the weight of a second story. And as the Cheney School District tries to repackage the bond in a better box, there's the issue with residents of Airway Heights - and other parts of the West Plains - who think there needs to be a discussion about building another high school in their neck of the West Plains woods. While they'Ve been told such an idea is too costly - estimated at around $120 million - these are some of the people who cast enough no votes to not pass the original bond. These are district patrons who see their kids being bussed significant distances to both middle and high school. They, or the people that follow them in their home, will be asked to spend another $45 million in another 10 years for Phase Two of the project, renovating today's structure to modem standards. Then, some 20 years and nearly $90 million later, the "new" Cheney High School will still not be remotely geographi- cally central to a significant part of the district. To their credit the Cheney ' School District and a citizen's advisory committee on the high school remodel have done a lot of homework. But like software developers who rush a product to market and then have to deal with bugs and the patches needed to fix the problem, we think the district needs to take their time, engage in more public and pub- licized discussion, and make sure they get it right. orry, il oin By DON C. BRUNELL Contributor Folks in the Pacific North- west may not like what Matt Ridley has to say, but we should consider his points about energy. Ridley, a British jour- nalist and author of several pop- ular books on science, the environ- ment and the econo- Don C. Brunell my, is a busi- nessman and member of the House of Lords. He is often shunned because he owns land where coal is mined. Recently, Ridley wrote in The Wall Street Journal that while oil, gas and coal have problems, their benefits are beyond dispute. He advances three rea- sons for not giving up on fossil fuels. First, they're plentiful. That may surprise some, since opponents constantly warn that we're running out. In 1922, a U.S. presi- dential commission claimed that, "Already the output of gas has begun to wane. Production of oil cannot ll long maintain its present rate." In 1977, President Jimmy Carter warned, "We could use up all the proven reserves of oil in the entire world by the end of the next decade," But with new discover- ies and new technology, America is becoming the world's top producer of oil and natural gas. We also are blessed with the world's largest supply of low sulfur coal in Montana and Wyo- ming. Ridley says that, when the shale revolution goes global, oil and gas will pro- vide ample power for de- cades, if not centuries. Wait- ing in the wings is methane hydrate, a seafloor source of energy larger than all the world's coal, oil and gas combined. Second, despite billions in subsidies, alternative fuels have trouble compet- ing. On a global level, the growth of renewable energy has merely made up for a decline in nuclear power. In 2013, about 87 percent of the world's energy came from fossil fuels, a figure virtually unchanged in the last decade. While the overall vol- ume of fossil fuel use has increased, CO2 emissions per unit of energy have de- clined. The biggest reason is the switch from 'coal to natural gas for electricity generation, even though See Brunell page 5 FREE SS Vol. 118-No. 49 Press Production Manager Randy Warwick Pressman Mark Cordes Sales Steve Barge DeeAnn Gibb Front Office Venus Bratsveen Dawn Chernak Editor John McCallum Reporters Paul Delaney AI Stover Graphics Brittani Montecucco John Myers Bookkeeper/Office Manager Debi Labish Publisher Harlan Shellabarger The Editorial Board is composed of Paul Delaney, AI Stover, Brittani Montecucco, Bill Ij~, John McCallum and Harlan Shellabarger The Cheney Free Press is published every Thursday by the Free Press Publish- ing Company, William Ifft, president. Periodical post- age paid at Cheney, Wash. 99004. Published at 1616 W. First Street, Cheney, Wash. 99004. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Cheney Free Press, P.O. Box 218, Cheney, Wash. 99004-0218. ID PUBLICATION # 102240 Rates: Addresses in Spokane County, $24 per year; $36 per year outside Spokane County; senior citizens in Spokane County, $22 per year. For other rates, call 235- 6184. Subscription cancellations are non-refundable! HOW TO CONTACT US Phone: 235-6184 Fax: 235-2887 emall: cfp @ cheneyfreepress.com www.cheneyfreepress.com The Free Press re- quests that contributors observe the following dead- lines, which will be strictly enforced: OBITUARIES. MEETINGS OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES - Tuesday, 10 a.m. CHURCH, CLUB MEETINGS. ALL SOCIAL NEWS -- Monday, noon DISPLAY ADVERTISING -- Monday, 4 p.m. LEGAL NOTICES -- Monday, 5 p.m. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING -- Tuesday, 11 a.m, Thank you from StageWest Community Theatre Inc. StageWest Community Theatre, Inc. just finished their run of Paul Elliott's "Exit Laughing." We en- joyed large crowds for most of our performances. We would like at this time thank the members of Emmanuel Lutheran Church for the generous use of their building for our auditions, rehearsals, and performanc- es of this play. We would also like to give a hearty thank you to Mike Hart- man for the delicious dinner he catered for our dinner theatre. More thanks also goes to the members of the community that continue to support us through either donations, ads and/or being a member of our audience. Without the support of the community we would be nothing. I would like to especially thank the cast and crew for a remarkable production. There were so many com- ments made by the audi- ences about what a terrific production this was and that it was one of the best See Letters page 5 ! !i i!i!i "% ~ ~ ~ John McCallum A1 Stover Editor Staff Reporter Main contact for editorial coverago. Gov- Covers alI Medical Lake gov~rn~t, ers all Chaney government, communi~, community and school district news, as school distnct news and events, as well well as Airway Heights news and Cheney as Cheney High School sports.High School sports. jmac@#~ane~ al@~ Paul Delaney Staff Reporter Covers all Medical Lake H~gh School and Eastern Washington University sports and news. Contast for miscellaneous sports. pdel~ey@cheneyf~, ress.c~n