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Colors may change at Valhalla Elementary following complaints

An artist
An artist's rendition of the Valhalla Elementary facade.
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

UPDATE: The colors may be changing at Valhalla Elementary School.

A letter went out this week to neighbors of the school, as well as to parents and staff, announcing that the district was working with architects to "redefine the exterior colors" — and that changes could come as early as this summer.

Currently, only one building is painted, and that building will definitely be repainted once a new final color scheme has been figured out.

However, extra work with the architects could mean that the repainting — or even the finishing of the painting of the exterior colors — could come after the opening of the school this fall for classes.

Costs for the repainting have not yet been determined the district said. However, the project is so far under budget that even with the repainting, it will not go over budget, said facilities director Rod Leland.

The project is about four months ahead of schedule. Construction crews are already anticipating beginning the demolishment of the current Valhalla building in mid-July. Demolition was originally expected to begin sometime next year.

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Original report below

There's a color controversy brewing at Valhalla Elementary.

The new school hasn't even finished the construction process, and already some neighbors are upset over the bright colors at the school, which will open this fall.

Facilities Director Rod Leland says about half of the calls he has received about the "ominous walls" have been in favor of the walls. However, enough calls complaining about the walls have come to the district that school board member Angela Griffin has asked about it. The district will look at the issue again, Leland said.

The new school, 27847 42nd Ave. S., is in the final stages of construction. Crews have begun painting the exterior walls, including tall decorative walls in bright child friendly colors such as purple and orange. The design was finalized and approved last fall. However, now that the paint has been added to the exterior, residents of the nearby homeowners association have started complaining.

"They are concerned that the colors do not fit in with the visual makeup of the neighborhood," spokeswoman Diane Turner said.

The colors are similar to Panther Lake Elementary School, which is also in the final stages of construction and has bright orange, green and blue exteriors.

At the June 9 school board meeting, Griffin asked that the issue be looked at again.

So far, the district has met with the project managers to discuss the need to reconsider the exterior colors, and principal Marie Verhaar will be meeting this week with managers to establish what kind of timeline there could be for looking at the colors again. A letter will be mailed this week to all homeowners in the area about the process required to redo the color scheme.

Currently, the school is set to open on time at the beginning of next school year.


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