Satus Elementary School History
Satus Elementary School has been serving Wapato families for more than 70-years. It was built in 1948 and since then thousands of Wapato students have received part of their K-12 education at Satus. However, the passage of time has taken its toll on the building making it more challenging with each passing year to maintain it as a safe, secure and comfortable learning environment for students and staff.
The safety deficiencies at Satus are a direct byproduct of the building’s age. Safety design features that are common-place in schools today weren’t needed seven decades ago. For example, Satus lacks a secure vestibule at its main entry. As it is right now, once someone is allowed to enter Satus, there is the potential of them by-passing the main office and accessing all areas of the building without approval.
Another significant issue is with the building’s heating and cooling systems (HVAC). Since the start of the 2023-2024 school year alone, the District’s Maintenance Department has had to address around 50 HVAC work orders at Satus. Compare that to less than 15 HVAC work orders this year at Simcoe Elementary, which opened in 2018. Also, due to the age of the systems, from time to time the District finds itself having to purchase used components to keep them up and running. In recent years the cooling system alone has required a great deal of maintenance. Due to environmental concerns with the R-22 refrigerant, it is no longer produced or imported into the United States. It’s lack of availability has forced the costly retrofitting of cooling units at Satus to accept refrigerants that are approved, safe and available. Additionally, the controls for the systems are outdated and there is a hefty price tag to upgrade them. The District looked into an update last year and at that time the cost would have been around $60,000.
The plumbing is also becoming a high priority concern. In the past couple of years, the network of pipes running under and through the building have started to fail. In fact, toward the end of last school year one of the main pipes delivering water to the building ruptured (see video below). It not only resulted in a costly repair but also disrupted the buildings regular teaching and learning schedule for a couple of days. Other plumbing issues include restrooms equipped with obsolete fixtures for which parts are no longer available.In 1952 instructional technology consisted of a chalkboard and wooden rulers. In today's digital age, students and educators rely on technology for research, collaboration, and innovative teaching methods. These days each Wapato student uses a Chromebook computer and every classroom is equipped with a large digital smartboard used for daily instruction. Adapting an aging infrastructure to meet these modern demands requires a thoughtful, strategic and often costly approach.