Bond update: March 2022

There was no shortage of smiles as earlier this month as approximately 500 excited students got their first look at the brand new Katherine G. Johnson Elementary.

It is the first new elementary school in our district in 13 years, and the first completed school funded by our 2019 bond. The first day of KGJ was especially meaningful because the community was celebrating both a new school and an extraordinary woman.

The new school’s namesake, Katherine G. Johnson, was an American mathematician who calculated and analyzed the flight paths of spacecraft during her more than three decades with the U.S. space program. Among many other accomplishments, her groundbreaking work helped send astronauts to the moon as part of 1969’s Apollo 11 mission.

“Katherine G. Johnson has inspired us to reach for the stars and that’s what we’re inspiring our kids to do. So, we talk about her, we’ve read about her, we’re learning about her. We’re using her as an inspiration for our kids to be future scientists and engineers, mathematicians, artists,” said Mary Waddell, a STEAM specialist at the school.

Naches Trail Elementary

Now that Katherine G. Johnson Elementary is officially open, we can turn our attention to our next elementary school bond project.

When our construction bond passed in 2019, Naches Trail Elementary was originally slated to be a complete remodel and expansion, but a cost analysis determined it would actually be more expensive to modernize the current Naches Trail than it would be to build a new school.

Originally built in 1979, Naches Trail is one of our oldest elementaries. The school received some facility improvements in 1997, but the student population has outgrown the building and the 14 portable classrooms that are now being used on campus.

By building a completely new school on adjacent property the district already owns, Naches Trail students won’t have to be relocated during the construction, which saves money, makes the build quicker, and is safer for students and teachers.

District leaders and members of our construction team held an open house earlier this month to give parents and community members a look at school plans and designs.

Crews are expected to break ground on the project later this year.

Graham-Kapowsin High School

Our planning and construction teams are also making great progress on our Graham-Kapowsin High School expansion 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.

Between January 4 and February 4, the district recieved 18 separate bid proposals for the job. After careful evaluation, our School Board accepted a bid proposal from Korsmo Construction of Tacoma. A summary of all the bid packages, including the winning bid, is available here.

The expansion is scheduled to be ready for the 2024/25 school year.

Challenger High School (Phase II)

The second phase of Challenger High School’s renovation and expansion project is getting closer and closer to the finish line.

The 31,000-square foot project will add more classroom space, as well as more parking and a practice field.The new building will add more classroom space, as well as more parking and a practice field. It is on track to open in September of 2022.

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