Columbia Basin Herald

EPHRATA — Voters in the Ephrata School District will finally be able to see the results of the bond measure passed in 2019 for remodelings at several schools in the district.

Work is beginning on remodeling and gymnasium additions at both Columbia Ridge Elementary School and Ephrata Middle School. Fowler Construction, of Richland, will be doing the construction for these projects and an office and entry security project at Parkway School.

The gymnasium at Columbia Ridge will be located in the southeastern portion of the school grounds.

The middle school’s new gym will be in the area of the current parking lot. This gym will enclose the school.

“What it will do is create an internal atrium area,” said Tim Payne, superintendent of Ephrata School District. “It will be enclosed for safety purposes. Students won’t have to go outside to connect anymore.”

The gymnasium additions will give both schools much needed space for students and community activities.

“Our gyms are very busy,” Payne said. “Everybody wants them. The city wants them. AAU wants them.”

The district’s gyms are also used for extracurricular activities and sports, as well as PE classes, which have become too crowded. Payne said that at the middle school approximately 400 students use the gym for classes.

The groundbreaking for the new gyms took place on Sept. 29. They are expected to be completed in December 2022. In conjunction, work will be performed at Parkway during the summer of 2021. This will include remodeling the school office and updating security at the entrance of the building. The total cost for the work at the three schools is $40,640,092, including sales tax. The renovations are being paid for by both the bond measure passed in 2019 and matching funds from the state.

Grant Elementary School will receive a remodeling and additional gymnasium, and the Performing Arts Center at the high school will also be remodeled. The design work for those projects will start this winter, and no construction date has been established yet.

Rachal Pinkerton may be reached via email at

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