Bonds are for Building …
With summer in full swing, our bond projects continue to move forward, with some projects wrapping up, and others getting underway. All the progress we report on each month is thanks to our voters, who approved the School Construction Bond back in 2019. Bond elections are needed in Washington because local school districts are still responsible for the majority of the cost to build new schools and fix old ones.
… Levies are for Learning
Next year, the district will have two levies up for renewal. These levy dollars are separate from the 2019 bond. The Educational Programs and Operations Levy was last renewed in 2018, and helps pay for critical things like Special Education programs and extra transportation costs — items the state does not fully fund. The Technology Levy, which was first passed in 2014 and last renewed in 2018, funds our iPad program that helped our district transition quicker to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic than many other districts.
We will share more information about the levies in the coming months. Until then, read on to take a look at three of our biggest construction projects that are currently underway!
Challenger High School Phase II
The second phase of Challenger High School’s renovation and expansion has begun! Demolition began this month to make way for the 31,000-square foot project. The new building will add more classroom space, as well as more parking and a practice field.
The completed school is scheduled to open to students in the fall of 2022.
Katherine G. Johnson Elementary
While our newest elementary school is nearing completion, our power company has encountered significant challenges with extending service to the school which has caused a delay in opening the school since the building can’t be completed or inspected without permanent power. We are hoping to open the school as soon as possible this school year.
Families with students expecting to attend school at Katherine G. Johnson Elementary were notified earlier this summer and will be attending classes at other neighborhood schools until Katherine G. Johnson Elementary officially opens.
Bethel Hope Early Learning Center
While not a bond project, the Bethel Hope Early Learning Center is also nearing completion in time for its much anticipated opening this fall.
Funded by impact fees, the 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 Board recently selected Bethel Hope Early Learning Center as the new name of the building. Hope is a connection to the Lively Hope Community Church, which occupied the building prior to the district purchasing the property. It also shows the hope we have that the children attending the school will have a positive, productive start to their education.