The weather is getting colder and the days shorter, but that hasn’t slowed the contruction crews working diligently on our many bond projects.
District retains strong Aa2 Bond Rating
Even though a methodology change caused many school districts’ bond ratings to drop recently, Bethel actually retained the strong Aa2 rating we’ve had for many years. Chief Financial Officer Bryan Verley said this was a testament to the good financial management in our district, which is something we’re very proud of.
Thank you, voters!
All the progress we report on each month is thanks to our voters, who approved the School Construction Bond back in February of 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.
It is with great thanks to the voters in our area that we are able to build new schools, and fix and expand others.
Bonds are for building, levies are for learning
Next year, our district will have two levies up for renewal. These levy dollars are separate from the 2019 bond. Our Educational Programs and Operations Levy was last renewed in 2018. It helps pay for critical things like special education programs and extra transportation costs — items the state does not fully fund. Our Technology Levy funds our iPad program that helped our district transition quickly to online learning during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can learn more about the Educational Programs and Operations Levy by clicking here. Or keep reading and learn more about our current and future bond projects!
Challenger High School Phase II
The second phase of Challenger High School’s renovation and expansion continues, and foundation work is well underway on 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
We are excited to report that the power issue at Katherine G. Johnson has been resolved and the lights are now on! We hope to have an updated timeline for the school’s completion soon. While the school is opening later than anticipated, students and staff started the school year in class together using space in nearby schools. That way, once construction is complete, they will be able to move into the new school without missing a beat.
GKHS Addition and Renovation Project
The 33,000-square-foot expansion will add a classroom wing, a gym and weight room, along with administrative spaces and a larger commons. The expansion is scheduled to be ready for the 2024/25 school year.
We’re getting closer and closer to finalizing a site for our ninteenth elementary school. The district and DR Horton are now in agreement on the language of the First Amendment to the Purchase and Sale Agreement for the future site of the school, which will be located within the Rainier Ridge at Lipoma Communities. Our School Board adopted the resolution at a special meeting in October.
We anticipate the second-round sale of the authorized bonds to proceed soon. This will allow us to move forward with the planned construction of our current and future projects, including the New Bethel High School, the New Naches Trail Elementary and the expansion and renovations of Cedarcrest Middle School and Evergreen Elementary — not to mention the construction of our 19th Elementary School!