FEBRUARY 4, 2010

Clarification on the future of Orofino Junior High

By Alannah Allbrett

   Several sources reported last week that the District 171 School Board had made a definite decision to close Orofino Junior High School. To clarify the situation and put it in the proper perspective, at some future time (still undetermined), the school will most likely need to be closed, but no time line has been set. Chairman Don Ebert said, “Everybody has known this for a long time.”

   “What we did propose is moving ahead with facility needs,” he said, “and are putting together a committee, which is supposed to recommend what they believe we need to do to solve long term facility needs” said Ebert. Present students at the Junior High will stay housed there until another plan can be made. “The committee will look at running a bond,” said Ebert. “They have a long ways to go, but the design is to have citizen input,” he said.

   With regard to permanent shutting down of school buildings in Pierce and Weippe to save on heating costs, “We   are going to have discussions, and it will be a deliberate decision,” said Chairman Ebert. We don’t know when we’re going to have a buyer which makes it more difficult.” The board is concerned about the costs of heating the facilities but does not want to do damage to the buildings by not keeping them heated properly in the meantime.

   Ebert went on to say, “We are trying to put forth a good faith effort to help people get on the same page. It is not productive to work against each other. We can’t come to a solution that way.  We want to have everybody feel included, and we’re moving forward to work together,” said Ebert.