Our Voice: Thumbs up for repurposing the Uptown Theatre

Unlikely couple

To getting a new start at the Uptown Shopping Center.

We love the idea of retaining a piece of history when you can -- and to bringing new things to the community.

So we're eager to see how the combination of an indie music concert hall and a growing church come together in an old movie theater in Richland that's been empty for 10 years. It's not an idea we would have thought of, but it seems like a good fit.

The fledgling East Lake Church is still getting on its feet, but has outgrown the space they have been meeting in at Southridge High for four years.

And MUX, a team that promotes local indie music shows, needed a bigger space -- but didn't need it seven days a week.

And the Uptown Theatre has been empty for 10 years.

Good luck to all involved. We hope it is a winning combination.

Making music

Thumbs up to the work-based, money-earning learning.

Some people learn better with a lecture and reading assignment. Some learn better when they are doing something with their hands.

We've used this space to encourage area schools that allow their students to learn science while building a guitar. It's a great program.

Now two of those schools, Kiona-Benton and Hanford, might have the opportunity to build the guitar kits that other schools around the country would use.

It takes the program one step further. It's a good step.

The cost of education

Thumbs down to Western Washington University President Bruce Shepard's budgeting skills.

You don't have to peek at Shepard's resume to see that he did not major in accounting. He does, however, have several degrees in political science.

In 2012 most state workers were saddled with a pay freeze. But at Western, professors got a 5.25 percent pay raise -- at the same time students got a 16 percent increase in tuition.

State officials were stunned. Then-Governor Chris Gregoire publicly chastised the decision saying it sent the wrong message the public and jeopardized future funding.

One can't very well go to the Legislature and claim poverty when you're tossing around that kind of cash.

Fast forward to this week when Shepard refused to submit a proposal of how he would cut his budget if he had to.

It's an exercise every university in this state goes through every two years.

Well, with one notable exception.

Money for the raises in 2012 came from dropping some of the lesser attended classes. We have to wonder if economics was one of them.