Bond Project Update: September 2020

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A view from high above the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary construction site.

Fall is in the air, but the colder temperatures and rainier days haven’t stopped us from moving forward on a number of exciting bond projects.

Our largest current project is the new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary School, and we couldn’t be happier with the progress we’re making. This month our construction crews worked on plumbing and framing in the school’s A- and B-wings, as well as pouring concrete in the G-wing. They also worked on the school’s sewer and stormwater systems and began installing floor joists and electrical work throughout the project.

Located on Waller Road between Military and 176th, the school is scheduled to open next fall to 700 students. It will also have space for enough portables to house another 200 students on site. Because of the way the state funds school construction, we can’t build schools to accommodate future growth, if we want to still be eligible for matching funds.

Watch this great drone video to see for yourself how the school is progressing.

New athletic fields

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The new turf at GKHS.

Our crews were busy this summer renovating the athletic fields at both Graham-Kapowsin and Spanaway Lake high schools, and the new state-of-the art turf at Graham-Kapowsin was finally put in place earlier this month. Click here for a cool drone video of the finished GKHS field.

New Bethel High School

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Artist rendering of the new Bethel High School

Construction on the new Bethel High School is scheduled to begin next year. After the new school opens in 2023, the old BHS building will be used as a “swing school.” This will allow students and staff from Cedarcrest Middle, as well as Evergreen and Naches Trail elementary schools, to move out of their current buildings while construction crews get to work on their expansion and renovation projects that are also being funded by the bond. This process will not only help accelerate the construction of each project, but also saves money with the reduced construction time.

Naches Trail Elementary modernization and expansion

Naches Trail’s modernization and expansion project is being done in two phases: Crews finished improving the site circulation for the school this summer. That will help improve traffic flow at the school for cars and buses. The second phase of the project, which will begin in 2023, will renovate and expand the school.

Bethel Early Learning Center groundbreaking

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Bethel School Board Directors at a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Bethel Early Learning Center.

This month the School Board voted to award the bid for the Bethel Early Learning Center project to Jones and Roberts Company of Olympia. Prior to the meeting, the Board met at the Bethel Learning Center for a groundbreaking ceremony.

This project — which will convert 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.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to invest money into our earliest learners, particularly some of those who need extra help to make sure they’re going to be successful,” said Superintendent Tom Seigel.

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.

Click here to watch a video of the groundbreaking ceremony.

2021 Preview

Next year is also shaping up to be a busy one for our construction teams. Not only is Katherine G. Johnson Elementary scheduled to open in the fall, but:

  • Construction begins on the new Bethel High School
  • Construction begins on Phase II of Challenger High School
  • Planning continues for the Graham-Kapowsin High School expansion project, which will start in 2022
  • Planning begins for Evergreen Elementary’s modernization and expansion project
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Helping kids learn is the driving force behind all we do in the Bethel School District.

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