As this edition of the Nine Mile Connection arrives in your mailbox, the summer season will be in full motion; the schools, campuses, and play fields will be empty of normal routine. However, at the time that I write this letter to you, we are midway through the last week of school. As always, the winding down of the school year is filled with culminating events. I have had the privilege of seeing many of you at music concerts, athletic contests, school barbecues, talent shows, graduation, as well as a myriad of other student activities during the last few weeks. When I roam from school event to school event, I am reminded of how amazing our kids are and how fortunate we are to have such wonderful support and partnerships with our families and the community at large. As I wind down my eighth year in the Nine Mile Falls School District, I am able to slow down just enough to realize how blessed I am to live and work in this community.
We learned of some very exciting news during the last month that I am eager to share with you. In late January, the district submitted a grant proposal to the state to assist with facility needs at Lakeside HS. In order for the district to be considered for the grant, the district had to receive a minimum of $100,000 in private donations. In a short period of time, we were able to garner monetary, equipment, and/or in-kind donations from the following companies: Ari Alvarez and SimplyTronics, LLC; OAC Services Inc.; Western Polymer; Reliant Rx; GenPrime Inc. and the Jim Fleming Memorial; The Hagan Foundation; Pacific Mobile; and, Coffman Engineering. We are extremely fortunate to have these business partnerships that allowed us to step up and make this happen for our students. The grant application was geared toward creating or enhancing learning spaces in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). In mid-May, we were notified that the Nine Mile Falls School District was awarded $1.2 million dollars to make this a reality for our students.
Currently, Lakeside HS has only one true functioning lab for twenty-two lab science courses. Obviously, this hampers the hands-on opportunities as many labs are conducted by the instructor rather than allowing students to participate. With the grant dollars that have been awarded, we will purchase a portable building that will house two functioning and fully-equipped science labs. As this is a state project, we must abide by all of the permitting, engineering, and construction rules and regulations. We are only just beginning the process, but we are hopeful that these new classroom labs will be ready for student use by the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.
Despite the fact that the kids are gone and the schools are closed, the District Office is open, and I welcome the opportunity to sit down and talk to you about all things Nine Mile. As I close this letter, I ask that each of us keeps a watchful eye on the roadways as there will be more pedestrian activity throughout the community. I hope that you enjoy a fantastic and safe summer.
Brian L. Talbott, Superintendent