The School Board has unanimously approved the calendar of construction projects that will be funded by the voter-approved 2019 School Construction Bond.
“Just because we passed the bond doesn’t mean we move into new schools next week,” School Board member John Manning said.
The construction calendar not only reflects the planning, permitting and construction process for each project, it also shows how the bonds will be sold over time so as to to keep the tax rate fairly consistent for voters.
Planning and permitting for Elementary School #18 on Waller Road has begun and the building is expected to be completed in time to kick off the 2021/22 school year.
Planning and permitting for the new Bethel High School will begin soon. It is expected to be opened for the start of the 2023/24 school year. That same year, Graham-Kapowsin High School’s new wing and expansion of existing common spaces is also expected to be completed.
The construction project the community will see happening first is Phase 1 of Challenger High School, which was funded through the district’s general fund last year. That project is expected to be completed later this year, and will begin housing students in early 2020. Phase 2 of Challenger will be bond-funded and is expected to be open for the 2022/23 school year.
The renovation and expansion projects at Cedarcrest, Evergreen, and Naches Trail will wait until students and staff from Bethel High School move into their new school building in 2023.
Beginning in 2023, the old BHS building will be used as a “swing school.” This will allow students and staff from Cedarcrest, Evergreen, and Naches Trail to move out of their current buildings while construction crews get to work.
“We’ve done that in the past and it was pretty successful,” said School Board President Brenda Rogers. “It’s so much easier for the contractor, it’s cheaper for us, and we don’t have kids running around a construction site.”
Superintendent Tom Seigel agreed.
“On average it actually accelerates the construction of the project because they can have the entire building and do it in about one year, as opposed to a year and a half,” he said. “When we did that with the modernization of Spanaway Lake High School, we saved between 5 and 6 million dollars, so it’s a good thing.”
Renovation & Expansion Projects — expected completion dates
Naches Trail: 2024
Once the old Bethel High School building is finished being a swing school, it is scheduled to be renovated and then will be used for the needs of the district at that time. It could become anything from a magnet high school to a preschool center. That decision will be made at a later date by the School Board.
There are a number of other projects that will be funded with the 2019 bond money. You can see them all on the construction calendar. As more information becomes available, we will continue to provide updates throughout the next ten years of bond-funded construction in Bethel.