Bond Project Update: December 2020

As we head into 2021, it’s a good time to reflect on all the progress we’ve made on our bond projects this year. The largest project was the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary, which broke ground in June on Waller Road between Military and 176th.

In July the school was officially named in honor of the extraordinary American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program.

As summer turned to fall, our construction teams continued to make progress on the school, transforming a raw piece of land into a campus that will soon be capable of comfortably educating 700 students, with space for enough portables to house another 200 students on site.

Katherine G. Johnson Elementary will open its doors to students next fall.

Another exciting bond project that’s picking up steam is the second phase of Challenger High School’s renovation and expansion.

The 31,000-square foot project will add new classroom space, as well as more parking and a practice field.

At the December School Board meeting, the Board approved a Value Engineering study on the project. The study, which is part of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s requirements for state funding, reviews the architect’s design and makes recommendations for cost avoidance, cost verification and added value proposals.

Phase 2 construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2021, with the completed school opening to students in the fall of 2022.

We’re all rightly excited about the progress being made at Katherine G. Johnson Elementary, but that’s not the only new elementary school in the works.

Our 19th elementary school isn’t scheduled to open until the fall of 2024, but work is already being done to prepare for it.

The district is entering into an agreement with DR Horton for a temporary right to enter onto the Lipoma Communities property for the purpose of performing due diligence prior to the purchase of the property. The agreement provides the district with the opportunity to confirm, in coordination with district legal counsel and our civil, geo-technical, and environmental engineers, that the development of Lipoma Communities is occurring to provide and prepare a feasible and suitable future elementary school site.

Workers are continuing to make great progress on the Bethel Early Learning Center.

This project — which is converting an old church into a learning center — will be the first of its kind in the district. It was designed to allow us to move preschool classrooms out of our crowded elementary schools and into the new building. The 12,000 square foot center will feature seven classrooms, administrative offices, support facilities, and will house approximately 250 students each day.

The center is being financed by impact fees, rather than bond money. Impact fees are collected when new homes are built in the district. The fees go up very minimally each year based on the consumer index and the money collected is generally used to purchase and place portable classrooms.

In addition to the main building, the center will feature a fun and educational outdoor space for playing, eating and learning.

Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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